QUITO – The Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office said on Wednesday it planned to charge Vice President Jorge Glas with criminal conspiracy in connection with the bribery case involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
“An indictment will be issued against 13 people being prosecuted in the criminal conspiracy case,” the AG’s office said in a statement.
Glas entered a Quito prison on Oct. 2 after Ecuador’s top court accepted a request from the AG’s office that the vice president be placed in preventive detention pending a possible indictment.
The vice president had already had his assets frozen and was barred from leaving Ecuador.
Attorney General Carlos Baca appeared before the National Court of Justice on Wednesday for a preparatory hearing in the Odebrecht case.
The AG told the court that five suspects in the case – four Brazilians and an Ecuadorian – would not be charged.
The hearing ended at noon and will resume on Thursday, but judicial officials said the announcement on the start of Glas’s trial would not be made until Friday.
If the court rules that prosecutors can proceed to trial, Glas will become the highest-ranking politician to face justice in the Odebrecht case.
The 48-year-old Glas says he is innocent and blames the corruption allegations on political and media persecution.
Glas’s attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus that was rejected and other motions, arguing that their client has been denied due process.
President Lenin Moreno relieved Glas of his duties in August after the vice president criticized the head of state’s policies.
Glas, who also served as vice president under President Rafael Correa, accused Moreno of seeking to undo the legacy of his predecessor’s 2007-2017 administration.
The investigation in Brazil of a massive pay-to-play corruption scheme centered on state-controlled oil company Petrobras revealed that Odebrecht also engaged in illegal practices in Angola, Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Odebrecht and Sao Paulo-based petrochemical company Braskem reached a settlement last December with the US Department of Justice in which they pleaded guilty to paying $788 million in bribes to government officials around the world.
The companies agreed to pay a combined total penalty of at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges with authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland arising out of those schemes.
Odebrecht paid more than $35.5 million in bribes to government officials in Ecuador between 2007 and 2016, officials said.