As published on: jurist.org, Friday 7 July, 2023.
A court in El Salvador sentenced former Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes, to a term of six years in prison Wednesday on charges of tax evasion. Funes is also alleged to have involvement with criminal syndicates within El Salvador, leading to his indictment and subsequent conviction with a prison term of 14 years.
Funes is a citizen of Nicaragua and is currently residing there. Nicaragua adheres to a policy of non-extradition for its citizens to third-party nations, irrespective of the nature of the offense committed by its nationals. This stands despite Nicaragua’s international responsibilities under active extradition treaties it has undertaken with other Latin American nations aimed at facilitating the reciprocal surrender of offenders. Funes relocated promptly following investigations into allegations of embezzlement and money laundering. Subsequently, he pursued political asylum for both himself and his family, which was ultimately granted by the administration of the President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega. Funes was then bestowed with Nicaraguan citizenship.
The sentencing comes as El Salvador has begun to crack down on political corruption. For example, former deputy of the legislative assembly Jorge Schafick Handal Vega was indicted for using his position to illegally enrich himself in the amount of $182,374.61.
David Munguia, the former Minister of Justice and Security, was indicted alongside Funes. Munguia was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment.