El Salvador’s president has asked the nation’s attorney-general to investigate a US$10 million donation that Taiwan made 10 years ago to the Salvadoran government during the administration of then-president Francisco Flores.
Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes on Tuesday said the complaint is based on suspicious operations detected by the US Treasury Department, information received by prosecutors in September.
He said he had a copy of the information, but would not say how he received it.
The attorney general’s office, which is independent, confirmed the investigation, but said it could not provide details.
The US report indicates Flores received checks totaling US$10 million from a Taiwanese government account between 2003 and 2004, Funes said.
The donation was intended for a Salvadoran government agency registering land for poor farmers, but Funes said the money never reached the agency.
Flores, who was president from 1999 to 2004, denied any wrongdoing in a local newspaper.
Flores is a member of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), which held the presidency for 20 years until Funes was elected in 2009 from the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
With a presidential election coming in February next year, ARENA is calling the investigation a political persecution.
Flores is campaign director for ARENA’s presidential candidate, Norman Quijano.