Ivonne Núnez, Ricardo Rivera’s first lawyer, says she witnessed a call that former president Rafael Correa made to his client, as reported by journalists María Belén Arroyo and Arturo Torres on the portal Código Vidrio.
The portal Código Vidrio has broadcast an interview with Nuñez, in which he reveals that Correa spoke by phone with Rivera and assured him that the trial against him for the Odebrecht case would not prosper. Rivera is the maternal uncle of former Vice President Jorge Glas: both were accused by the Attorney General’s Office of receiving about $ 11 million in bribes from the Odebrecht company. Both have also been sentenced for illicit association. According to Code Vidrio, Rivera apparently believed in what Correa had told him: then he accepted the right to silence.
With his lawyer, Rivera defined the strategy for the hearing that was to be held 72 hours later in the northern judicial complex of Quito. The defense’s suggestion was clear: request the change of precautionary measures (Rivera is over 65, was under house arrest with a broken state of health); collaborate with justice; Agree on an effective collaboration agreement.
In the midst of uncertainty, a phone call returned her calm. “Do not worry that everything will be fine. It’s all under control”. On the other side of the cell phone line, former President Rafael Correa gave him confidence: he was about to travel to Belgium, but he guaranteed that the trial against him would not prosper.
That call changed everything. The uncle of Jorge Glas decided to take refuge in silence. Decision that did not change, even when months later was sentenced to six years in prison for illicit association related to the Odebrecht case.
Ivonne Núñez defended Ricardo Rivera until July 2017.
Núñez, a Guayaquil lawyer, played a crucial role in this case. It impelled a judicial action so that the process was public instead of having reserved character.
But he says that he separated from Rivera’s defense when he insisted on believing the ex-president’s word. “I told him that that was just a farewell call.” The portal Code Glass says that it tried to obtain the engineer Rivera’s version, but that the Ministry of Justice argued that “it is impossible to interview people deprived of their liberty”. Correa, for his part, has insisted that the trial against Glas and Rivera is just a political persecution, and that “there is not a single test against him.” (I)