Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Probe Flores for Taiwan funding: Salvador officials


Former Salvadorean president Francisco Flores should undergo a criminal investigation for the alleged embezzlement of money donated by Taiwan, a Salvadorean congressional committee recommended on Tuesday.

“It is clear that former president Francisco Flores received checks issued directly by Taiwan in his name and therefore formed part of his estate,” the commission wrote of Flores, who ruled from 1999 to 2004.

In a report that is non-binding, the panel recommended that prosecutors consider opening an embezzlement probe against him.

The panel said it could not establish exactly how much Flores may have received.

It said that despite questioning the former president twice, it could not determine what happened to US$10 million that Taipei donated to the Central American country from October 2003 to April 2004.

That amount was in a complaint filed last year by Salvadorean President Mauricio Funes on the basis of suspicions reported by the US Department of the Treasury.

Lawmakers could also not determine how the US$15 million that Taiwan donated from September 2002 to December 2003 for development projects was used.

Another US$30 million for social projects is also unaccounted for.

On Jan. 7, Flores acknowledged receiving about US$20 million from the Taiwanese government that did not go into public coffers. He said he used the money to attend to the aftermath of two earthquakes, as well as to fight drug trafficking and street gangs.

Flores testified again on Jan. 29, but missed a summons two days later and since then his whereabouts have been unknown.

His bank accounts and real estate have been seized.

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