El Salvador court absolves late president in graft case
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador absolved the late President Francisco Flores of civil responsibility Friday in a case in which he was accused of diverting more than $15 million in earthquake relief funds donated by Taiwan.
Investigators had found that $10 million of the money, intended to help the victims of two powerful 2001 quakes, had in fact gone to Flores’ Arena party, while the rest benefited him personally.
But the court ruled there was no basis for a civil judgment against him because documents from Taiwan that were presented by the Public Ministry “were not authenticated. They did not fulfill the formalities of the law.”
Defense lawyer Edgar Morales Joya said there was no proof against the ex-president.
Flores governed from 1999 to 2004 and died in 2016 while under house arrest on accusations of embezzlement, illicit enrichment and other crimes.
His death ended any possibility of a criminal conviction, but prosecutors pursued a civil case and last year seized nine properties that belonged to Flores.
Under the decision, those will return to his family.