El Salvador upholds sentence of ex-President Tony Saca

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s Supreme Court upheld a 10-year prison sentence against ex-President Tony Saca for corruption on Thursday and confirmed that he must return some $260 million to the state.

The ruling also upheld convictions against three former officials from his inner circle and three former presidential employees who are also under orders to return stolen money.

Saca was convicted in September 2018 after pleading guilty in connection with the diversion of more than $300 million from government coffers to benefit of his businesses and third parties, becoming the first Salvadoran ex-president found guilty of corruption.

His defense filed appeals earlier this year that resulted in the suspension of the repayments, but the Supreme Court’s decision overturned that.

Saca, 54, was president from 2004 to 2009 and was arrested in October 2016.

Two other presidents have also been accused of corruption: Francisco Flores (1999-2004) died in 2016 while awaiting trial under house arrest, and Mauricio Funes (2009-2014) fled to Nicaragua where he was granted asylum, allowing him to avoid facing trial back home.

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