El Salvador judge orders former president's arrest

AP News
Posted: May 06, 2014 7:55 PM
El Salvador judge orders former president's arrest

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A judge in El Salvador on Tuesday issued an arrest order for former President Francisco Flores, who faces charges of embezzlement, illegal enrichment and disobedience.

Judge Marta Rosales asked Interpol for help in arresting Flores, who Salvadoran authorities believe has left the Central American country and could be in Panama.

Panama's immigration agency said it has no record of Flores entering that country.

Flores, 53, was charged last week with embezzling $5.3 million while he was president from 1999 to 2004. He was also charged with mismanaging $10 million that was donated a decade ago by Taiwan's government during his presidency.

A further charge of disobedience accuses Flores of failing to show up for a meeting with a congressional commission investigating what happened to the money Taiwan donated.

Flores has said he received the money personally from Taiwan and handed it over to the intended state projects. He has offered no proof of the handover.

Salvadoran officials have said the investigation began after prosecutors received information last year about suspicious operations detected by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Flores is a member of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance, which held the Salvadoran presidency for 20 years until President Mauricio Funes of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front was elected in 2009.