A little over a year ago the voice was left in campaign acts to make it clear that if he became president of Ecuador, Ivan Espinel would lead the fight against corruption and put an end to the traps in the management of public resources. He would do so without mercy and proposed a “scalpel law” to cleanse the public positions of officials who abused the taxpayers’ money. Even, “cut their hands.” Today, the Ecuadorian people remember their promises while seeing the ex-minister and ex-candidate face several processes that question his neatness as a public office.
Iván Espinel is in preventive prison, since Saturday, April 7, for a process for money laundering initiated by the Office of the Prosecutor that questions the origin of the money with which he paid his house in Samborondón. Since last November, he is also awaiting another case for embezzlement based on a report from the Comptroller’s Office which, together with around twenty other names in the health sector, blamed negligent civil liability for a damage to the State of almost 40 million dollars. Barely a month after the report was released, Espinel resigned from the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, referring to the campaign for the Yes of the popular consultation as justification.
Now, after the judge’s decision to send Espinel to preventive detention this weekend, his lawyer, Kleber Sigüenza, emphasizes to remind Ecuadorians that their client has not been convicted and that what the judge ordered this end of week was a precautionary measure. Not a condemnatory sentence. It makes the accuracy of the media coverage received and the damage to its reputation that it could generate.
What Espinel is facing is an alleged crime of money laundering that is punishable in the Comprehensive Criminal Code with 13 years in prison and starts, as was recorded yesterday EXPRESO, in a report by the Unit of Financial and Economic Analysis on unusual movements in your heritage. The UAFE considers the origin of $ 320,000 in cash to be unjustified, with which it paid more than half of a house in Samborondón (valued at $ 520,000, according to the UAFE, and at 350,000, according to the deeds).
These questions are unfounded, indicates the defense of Espinel, since the former minister of the government of Lenin Moreno and ally of PAIS in the second round of elections in 2017, has justification for their economic movements. To summarize, recalls Sigüenza, the house was paid with income from the sale of vehicles, other commercial operations and what Espinel has earned for his work in recent years. For the Office of the Attorney General, on the other hand, there are irregularities in bank movements, without supporting documentation, for $ 63,000 and, in addition, unusual consumption of credit cards. The fiscal ministry also doubts the purchase of a luxury vehicle for $ 36,000. All of this, based on the UAFE report, on the statements made to the SRI and in another report on Criminal Responsibility of the Comptroller’s Office.
Even so, Espinel’s lawyer denounces that the former minister has been subjected to “inhumane treatment” during his detention and his being brought to justice. “He was treated like another criminal, like a thief or a drug trafficker,” he criticizes, referring to the images that publicly transpired with the ex-minister handcuffed in judicial offices. A lack of deference when compared to how the authorities have acted when other former senior government officials have been prosecuted in the last year.
The defense will appeal the decision to send him to preventive detention while the investigation for money laundering progresses and while a new date is expected for the hearing to formulate charges for the other process for embezzlement.
Iván Espinel was director of the IESS Hospital in Durán.
Director of IESS Guayas.
He appears as a candidate for president of the Republic. He does not pass the first round and is allied with PAIS.
He is appointed Minister of MIES by Lenin Moreno.
Glossed by the Comptroller for alleged damage to the IESS of almost 40 million.
Resignation as minister (I)