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Ecuador’s former president convicted of corruption charges

Correa was among 20 people, including his vice president, Jorge Glas, accused of accepting $ 8 million in bribes in exchange for public contracts from 2012 and 2016. The former president left Ecuador three years ago, and his conviction, which he can appeal, leaving him subject to arrest if he returns.

In addition to prison time, the court banned Correa, 57, from politics for 25 years.

The trial was followed closely in Ecuador and the verdict is likely to affect not only a presidential election scheduled for next year, but also the political landscape in the coming years. Correa denied the allegations, describing them as a form of political persecution intended to prevent him and his allies from running in future national elections.

After leaving his position in 2017, he moved to Belgium and promised to retire from politics, but he has since reversed the course. By saying that he felt compelled to “take back the fatherland,” Correa has expressed interest in running for the 2021 office, which would prevent his conviction, if it stands.

“Correa is paradoxically the most popular and most rejected political figure in Ecuador,” said political analyst Rafael Balda. His presence on the ballot would lift his political party, now known as Movimiento Revoluci√≥n Ciudadana, but even his campaign on its behalf would make a big difference, Balda said.

The case emerged from an investigation originally known as Arroz Verde, or Green Rice, after the name of the file found in an email sent to a former assistant to Mr. Correa. The document, which was revealed by the online publication Mil Hojas, contained the names, amounts and dates of payments made by several companies and individuals to the campaigns of his party, prosecutors say.

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