QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — An Ecuadorian court found former President Rafael Correa guilty of corruption Tuesday and sentenced him to eight years in prison, further sullying the legacy of one of the nation’s most enduring and polemal political leaders.
Judge Iván León said prosecutors had proved the existence of a “structure of corruption” led by Correa and 19 other high-profile politicians and business leaders accused of participating in the bribery scheme.
The decision could effectively end any aspirations by Correa to return to politics, as a conviction bars him from running for office.
He has denied the charges against him, calling them a political witch hunt.
The 57-year-old former head of state lives in his wife’s native Belgium. He said on Twitter that, “I am sure we will win on the international level.”