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El Salvador’s ex-president gets two years jail sentence for bribery

By Toby Prince

A former president of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca, who is serving a 10-year prison term for corruption, has been sentenced to another two years for bribery.

Saca was found guilty of having offered $10,000 to a court employee to obtain information about a case against him, the attorney general’s office said on Thursday.

A court spokesman told AFP news agency Saca was sentenced “during an abbreviated trial”.

The former leader “negotiated” an abbreviated trial with prosecutors, agreeing to confess to a bribery offence in exchange for a shorter period in prison, the official said.

A judge will decide whether Saca will serve an extra two years, or if the additional time will be considered as part of his existing ten-year sentence.

Saca, president from 2004 to 2009, was sentenced in September last year after confessing to diverting $301m of public funds during his tenure.

Five years of the sentence were for money laundering, and five for embezzlement. He also has to give back $260m to the state.

During the trial, prosecutors said Saca had appropriated public funds for himself and others, including taking more than $7m for his former party, the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance.

The 54-year-old former businessman was detained in October 2016 during his son’s wedding.

Saca’s successor as president, Mauricio Funes, has been in exile in Nicaragua since September 2016, also accused of corruption. He has been accused of using public funds to pay for trips, home remodelling and hospital bills, among other expenses.

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