Posted On 30 Dec 2016
Embezzlement, illicit enrichment, money laundering, bribery, influence peddling, organized crime and perjury. These are the crimes investigated by the Attorney General’s Office on the corruption network within Petroecuador.
In total, there are 18 judicial proceedings opened and more than 80 people investigated, among former officials, contractors, and their relatives. Of these cases, six are in fiscal instruction, which is the public phase, and the rest are reserved records as they are in the prior inquiry. This was confirmed by the Office of the Prosecutor on December 28.
The Petroecuador case began with the publication of the Panama Papers, documents leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) last April. After the names of ‘offshore’ companies established by Ecuadorians in that country had been disclosed, an investigation was opened against Alex Bravo, former manager of Petroecuador. On May 16 he was arrested in Quito and, at first, prosecuted for alleged influence peddling.
Attorney Franklin Bravo, who led the case, said that the former employee benefited the companies Multiservicios Valdi (Multival), Nolimit and MMR Group with the signing of contracts, which exceeded USD 44.7 million and were related to the Esmeraldas Refinery. Relatives and friends of Bravo worked in these companies. This investigation did not succeed because the Prosecutor’s Office changed the crime of influence peddling for illicit enrichment, which has a higher penalty.