Ernesto Muyshondt Is to Face Trial in April on Charges of Withholding Labor Quotas and Breach of Duties

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Apr 2nd, 2024
Ernesto Muyshondt Legal TroublesErnesto Muyshondt.

Ernesto Muyshondt, the former mayor of San Salvador, is scheduled to stand trial in the second week of April at the Fifth Sentencing Court of San Salvador. Muyshondt faces charges of withholding labor quotas and breach of duties.

Ernesto Muyshondt is a Salvadoran politician and businessman, former mayor of San Salvador for the right-wing political party ARENA (2018-2021), and former deputy of the Legislative Assembly for the same party (2015-2018).

Muyshondt is currently in prison in pre-trial detention; he is facing two cases linked to the San Salvador City Hall, which will be adjudicated at the Fifth Sentencing Court of San Salvador. The former politician also faces one criminal charge related to illicit negotiation with gangs.

Breach of Duties Charges

Ernesto Muyshondt faces charges of breaching his duties while serving as mayor of the capital city from 2018 to 2021.

Also accused in this process are the former treasurer of the mayor’s office, Fernando Heriberto Portillo Linares, and the former director of finance, Santos Omar Muñoz Gonzalez.

In the breach of duties case, Muyshondt is accused of being responsible for the withholding of $5,217,129.47 in labor contributions from municipal employees that were not delivered to the corresponding institutions, arguing that the mayor was aware of the problem but did not act.

The total includes 41 victims and 54 financial entities, which range from Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) to various unions, banks, cooperatives, and other institutions.

The Prosecutor’s Office accuses Muyshondt of being aware that money was withheld from employees; however, instead of remitting these funds to the appropriate institutions, the money was redirected toward city hall projects.

SEE ALSO: Ernesto Muyshondt. Politician Ex-Mayor of San Salvador

Ernesto Muyshondt
Ernesto Muyshondt, former mayor of San Salvador.

Tax Withholdings Misappropriation Charges

Salvadoran authorities accused Muyshondt of withholding tax money from workers of the Solid Waste Directorate of the capital’s mayor’s office and not declaring them to the Ministry of Finance.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the withholdings amounted to $275,145, and it occurred in 2020.

The former treasurer of the mayor’s office, Fernando Heriberto Portillo Linares, and the former director of Solid Waste, Francisco Jose Rivera Chacon, are also involved in this legal process.

This case went to trial, and in August 2023, the Sixth Sentencing Court acquitted him. However, the Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision, and the Third Criminal Chamber ordered a retrial.

Electoral Fraud and Illicit Associations Charges

Ernesto Muyshondt is accused of the crimes of electoral fraud and illicit groups. Muyshondt’s accusations of negotiating with gangs for votes originated from the 2014 presidential campaign.

The former mayor is accused of meeting with gang members and allegedly paying them to vote for Norman Quijano, the presidential candidate of the right-wing political party ARENA.

Muyshondt met with the gang leaders to influence them to have their families and other gang members vote in their favor in exchange for money.

Ernesto Muyshondt, then vice president of Arena, is seen in a video along with Salvador Ruano, the mayor of Ilopango at the time, meeting with representatives of the MS13 and the two factions of Barrio 18, Revolucionarios and Sureños.

In it, Muyshondt offers, if Quijano wins, to end the maximum security regime at the Zacatecoluca prison, where the principal historical leaders of the gangs are currently serving sentences.

Both Muyshondt and Ruano acknowledged the authenticity of the video, admitting that the meeting aimed to thwart gang interference in Quijano’s 2014 presidential candidacy and establish a pact to curb homicides in exchange for prison reforms.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador’s Homicide Rate

Ernesto Muyshondt’s Legal Troubles

Ernesto Muyshondt’s legal troubles are far from over, facing allegations ranging from financial impropriety, such as fund withholdings, to purported involvement with gang members in electoral affairs.