Quito: A criminal court in Ecuador has sentenced Vice President Jorge Glas to six years in prison for illicit association within the bribery scheme run by Brazilian construction firm, Odebrecht.
This is the first sentence handed down in Ecuador within the Odebrecht case. Four others were sentenced to the same penalty as Glas, including his uncle, Ricardo Rivera.
Judge Edgar Flores, President of the National Justice Court, said on Wednesday that this corruption had also included other crimes, including influence peddling and money laundering, Xinhua news agency reported.
Three other persons were condemned to 14 months in prison, a reduced sentence in exchange for having cooperated with authorities. A final suspect was found not guilty.
Furthermore, given the scale of the corruption involved, the sentenced individuals must jointly pay back the state for $33.3 million which were embezzled.
He added that the court had received evidence from the U.S. Department of Justice and a former Odebrecht executive, Jose Conceicao Santos.
Glas, 48, was minister of telecommunications from 2009 to 2010 before serving as vice-president since 2013 to former President Rafael Correa and current President Lenin Moreno.
He has been in preventive custody in Quito since October 2. However, during the trial, he has steadfastly maintained his innocence and refused to step down as vice-president.
Glas is now the highest ranking official to be jailed within the Odebrecht corruption scandal, which has swept Latin America.
Odebrecht, Brazil’s largest construction company, was found to have bribed officials across the region in exchange for public infrastructure contracts.
According to documents provided by the US, Odebrecht paid out $33.5 million in bribes to Ecuadorian officials between 2007 and 2016.
Glas has the possibility of appealing the sentence but the national assembly may now also move to quickly impeach him.