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article imageEcuador's congress clears path for corruption inquiry against VP

By AFP     Aug 25, 2017 in World

Ecuador's congress on Friday voted unanimously to allow a criminal inquiry against Vice President Jorge Glas in the sweeping corruption scandal around the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

With 128 of the 137 deputies present and voting, the National Assembly withdrew Glas's immunity in order to allow prosecutors to open a corruption inquiry. No formal charges have yet been brought against him.

Assembly president Jose Serrano said the legislature's decision would give Glas "the opportunity to defend himself before the law and no longer against the media or political lynching."

Serrano emphasized his confidence in Glas, saying, "We trust in the innocence of people -- in this case the vice president -- so long as there is no proof of any specific responsibility."

Glas, who was minister of strategic sectors before becoming vice president in 2013, has denied any link to the Odebrecht scandal, though his uncle, Ricardo Rivera, has been arrested for his alleged participation in the affair.

Nine other Ecuadorans have been arrested in connection with the Odebrecht matter, including a former minister of electricity, Alecksey Mosquera.

The Odebrecht scandal has shaken the political establishment across Latin America, with the construction giant charged with paying hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal bribes to politicians to gain lucrative contracts.

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