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Ex-president of El Salvador dies facing corruption charges

Members of the media gather in front of a private hospital where former El Salvador President Francisco Flores was admitted, in San Salvador, El Salvador January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The former president of El Salvador, Francisco Flores, 56, died on Saturday after suffering a stroke as he waited to face trial over embezzlement charges.

Flores ruled the Central American nation from 1999 to 2004 and he had been operated on last Sunday after suffering a stroke.

“We regret the death of President Francisco Flores and we sympathize with his family at this time,” his far-right Nationalist Republican Party (Arena) said in a statement.

Flores was accused of embezzling $15 million of aid from Taiwan that was donated after two devastating earthquakes hit the country in 2001. He had siphoned $10 million to give to his party and kept $5 million, according to prosecutors.

Flores maintained his innocence and was under house arrest for the charges.

“He suffered a terrible health crisis, provoked by this unjust political attack,” his wife Lourdes de Flores told local media.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria