QUITO – Ecuador’s National Court sentenced suspended Vice President Jorge Glas to six years in prison on Wednesday in a case related to bribes paid by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to obtain public works contracts.
The court deemed credible testimony from former Odebrecht executive Jose Conceicao Santos that Glas was instrumental in a bid-rigging conspiracy involving five major infrastructure projects.
The vice president’s uncle, Ricardo Rivera, and three other defendants were likewise sentenced to six years, while one of the accused was acquitted.
“Barbaric” was the word Glas’ attorney, Eduardo Franco Loor, used to describe the verdict when he spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, where hundreds of supporters and opponents of the vice president were trading insults and – sometimes – blows.
His client has no intention of resigning the vice presidency and will appeal the court’s decision, Franco said.
Glas, who was convicted for events that took place during his 2010-2012 tenure as minister for Strategic Sectors, was elected vice president earlier this year on a ticket headed by Lenin Moreno, but the two men fell out soon after the new administration took office.
Amid a deepening rift within the governing center-left Alianza Pais party, Glas accused Moreno of seeking to undo the legacy of predecessor Rafael Correa, who governed Ecuador for a decade.
Moreno relieved Glas of his duties in August and the vice president was indicted within weeks.
The vice president has consistently proclaimed his innocence and Correa, who settled in his wife’s native Belgium after leaving office, visited Glas in prison during a recent visit to Ecuador.