SAN SALVADOR – Former Salvadoran president Tony Saca agreed on Tuesday to plead guilty to charges of diverting more than $300 million in state funds during his 2004-2009 tenure.
“I have agreed to a plea bargain,” Saca told the three judges hearing the corruption case. “We know all the details, we have discussed it with my defense and spoken to the prosecution.”
Saca, as well as former top aides Elmer Charlaix, Julio Rank and Cesar Funes, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and money laundering, and agreed to repay part of the money in exchange for avoiding maximum sentences.
One of the prosecutors told the court that the agreements stipulates a sentence of 10 years in prison for Saca and Charlaix, as well as five years for Rank and Funes.
Saca’s defense attorney, Mario Machado, told reporters that his client’s admission of guilt does not imply that Saca will plead guilty to embezzling the whole amount provided, but failed to specify a concrete figure.
The prosecution alleges that Saca and the rest of the defendants were operating within a structure that misplaced more than $300 million using as many as 14 personal bank accounts belonging to Charlaix, Rodriguez and Gomez, from which at least $116 million were withdrawn in cash.