October 2, 2017 / 4:51 PM / 2 years ago

Ecuador judge orders arrest of vice president in Odebrecht probe

Ecuador's Vice President Jorge Glas talks during an interview with Reuters at the Government Palace in Quito, Ecuador, August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia - RC12A9BD7B60

QUITO (Reuters) - An Ecuadorean judge on Monday ordered pre-trial detention for Vice President Jorge Glas as part of an investigation into Brazilian construction company Odebrecht’s corruption scandal.

Glas, a 48-year-old electrical engineer, has been accused by senior members of the government of former President Rafael Correa of corruption while serving as a minister and vice president during seven years of Correa’s government.

Judge Miguel Jurado approved a prosecutor’s request for preventative detention on the grounds that Glas allegedly accepted bribes, and also agreed to freeze his assets.

Glas said the accusations lack evidence and are part of a politicized campaign against him.

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to search for me, I’m where I always am,” Glas said via Twitter. “I’m not going to escape. Those who are innocent never flee.”

Fallout from the massive Odebrecht corruption scandal has continued to sweep Latin America.

The company, which has admitted to paying bribes to win contracts in a number of countries, has already paid $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland.

A close ally of leftist ex-President Rafael Correa, Glas served as Correa’s vice president from 2013 and retained the position under current President Lenin Moreno.

In August he was suspended from his duties by Moreno, who accused him of not being a team player.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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