Interview with Carlos Baca Mancheno.
What is coming in the Odebrecht case after the Court sentenced Jorge Glas to six years in prison?
There are open investigations before concluding the fiscal instruction; there are investigations ordered after that phase is concluded and there are investigations ordered by the judges. But we estimate that at least 20 additional cases could be opened to those opened by Odebrecht.
When will these inquiries be initiated? They will be opened in the next few hours, in the next few days, because it is a technical issue. That is, it has to do with openness, research, found elements. We have not received the written notification of the Court (on the penalty of illicit association). But even with the oral announcement of the sentence we are going to open the corresponding investigations.
What new crimes are spoken in these files?
The Court spoke of eight, which in a strict sense is enough. But I think there are a couple of issues that we think are important laundering. Here, the research compass is wider. It does not contract or restrict the person who is the main suspect, but allows the collection of data from all their environments. They are more technical inquiries, because you must reach a level of detail in the money trail, in the monitoring of resources, where were they located?, in what way were incorporated into the economic flow? But that takes more time.
From what you have been able to observe, what people would be involved in these new processes?
It covers private people and public officials. But the prosecution is tied hands, because to open files for possible embezzlement and illicit enrichment requires a prior report from the Comptroller. We are going to ask the Assembly to repeal that provision. We believe that this limitation prevents a comprehensive investigation of crimes against public administration. The repeal will allow the Office of the Prosecutor to exercise its powers fully constitutionally. But at this moment, the Attorney General’s Office cannot initiate an investigation for those two crimes against Jorge Glas, for example.
Why was that model applied that led to an impossibility to prosecute those responsible?
What was sought was to avoid that without a previous filter, which in this case was the Comptroller’s Office, it could be possible to establish infractions for embezzlement and illicit enrichment. But in practice it has been proven that it was a failed institutional model.
Why did it fail?
The country has watched with great amazement the fact that the official in charge of the control was involved in the corruption of Odebrecht. Then, beyond the institutional designs that can be had, it is also required that the institutions be conducted by people who are up to the circumstances of the country. In the Glas trial, the Court established an indemnity of USD 33.3 million.
How are they going to collect that money?
The reparation, in monetary terms, is closely linked to the condemnatory sentence. So that without that criminal sentence you cannot activate the other mechanisms of confiscation.
The only thing that could be done is to eventually take precautionary measures on property. But that does not guarantee that the entire patrimony of the person may be the product of the confiscation. You ask for a repair of USD 33 million, but the Attorney General’s Office spoke of 50 million. There are four defendants who are still on trial and their hearing was suspended, because they are fugitives. Part of the repair was attributable to them.
There is other mone which Odebrecht paid for bribes, Where are those funds?
Some of these resources are in private works and in real estate. Others were in transit in financial institutions outside the country or in offshore.
Ecuador must improve the tools with which the legislation counts and thus ensure that financial resources, capital and goods can be returned.
Isn’t there that mechanism?
Now what we have is only the confiscation, as the product of a sentence. How much was paid in bribes? It could be more than USD 50 million. One part is in tax havens.
Will recovering that money be difficult?
It will be possible, but it will have certain levels of difficulty that will have to be overcome.
How should it be done? You said that the Prosecutor’s Office has limitations.
We currently have less than five prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants. Eight per 100 000 are optimal. We have a very significant deficit of expert psychologists, medical examiners, social workers.
How can we find out more cases of Odebrecht?
We formed a team with 11 prosecutors and technical personnel.
Was there pressure within this whole process?
All the time.
From around the world
From Belgium? From Carondelet?
From all the world. It’s obvious, too. It is such a delicate subject, so extensive, so complex that it would be absurd to think that there will not be pressures from the whole world and from all kinds of nature. But we are calm. Not long ago he was Glas’s partner. And now he had to accuse him. I have fulfilled my duty with the country, with the Office of the Prosecutor. We have taken the issue technically. His career He was a political advisor in the previous government. He chaired a commission that investigated the events of September 30, 2010. In the contest that the Participation Council organized to choose Prosecutor, he obtained 94 out of 100 points. He is a Lawyer and Doctor in Jurisprudence for the U. Central; with specialization in Criminal Law. (I)