Ecuador says ex-leader trying to destabilize government
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Officials in Ecuador alleged Wednesday that Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro’s administration gave ex-President Rafael Correa $281,000 intended to destabilize the government of the man who replaced him as head of the small South American nation.
Anti-Corruption Secretary Ivan Granda presented a formal complaint to prosecutors accusing Correa of accepting the funds, which were purportedly funneled in August through a foundation run by the former head of state.
Granda provided no details on the foundation’s alleged actions, but current President Lenin Moreno warned other regional leaders in a meeting last week to be wary of similar maneuvers intended to hurt their governments.
Correa denied the charges on Twitter, while the foundation put out a statement insisting that all of its activities are legal.
“Please, don’t harm the homeland, and go home,” Correa tweeted dismissively.
Correa has been in a protracted feud with current President Lenin Moreno, who won election in 2017 with his backing.
The former friends had a bitter falling out shortly after Moreno’s election, with Correa accusing Moreno of betraying the ideals of his “21st century socialism” platform and Moreno accusing his predecessor of going so far as to plant a hidden video camera in his office in order to spy on him remotely.
Granda said the funds were allegedly provided by Venezuela’s national development bank, known by its acronym in Spanish, BANDES. The U.S. Treasury Department recently sanctioned the bank, with authorities accusing Maduro’s government of using it as a slush fund to evade sanctions and move money out of the country.
Granda said the money was distributed to Correa and his close associates.
There was no immediate response from Venezuelan officials, who are currently grappling with another protracted nationwide blackout.