Ex-first lady Ligia de Saca to face trial for money laundering in El Salvador

By Karla Ramos  |  Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
Ana Ligia de Saca
Ex-first lady Ana Ligia de Saca and ex-president Tony Saca

This Tuesday, February 2, the trial against the former first lady Ana Ligia de Saca and 12 others accused of laundering $ 17,500,000 of public funds started in San Salvador.

According to the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), $ 17.5 million was taken from public funds and transferred to bank accounts of the SAMIX group, owned by ex-president Tony Saca.

When Tony Saca allegedly transferred this money to SAMIX, Ligia de Saca was a shareholder at the radio group. According to their investigations, the prosecution claims that she was the person who mobilized the stolen public funds at SAMIX.

The prosecution also mentioned that they have plenty of evidence, such as documents and testimonials from witnesses.

If found guilty, Ligia de Saca could serve a sentence between 5 to 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Miguel Flores said that they, in due time, will present evidence absolving the former first lady from the crime of money laundering.

Defense attorney Flores also assures that former president Saca, during his guilty confession, absolved his wife of any wrongdoing related to the crime he pled guilty to years ago.

Reaching the trial’s initial phase has taken over 16 months, mainly due to Ligia de Saca’s legal team seeking to obtain a plea deal from prosecutors.

The ex-first lady legal team wanted an abbreviated process in which she would confess her participation in a corruption network that benefited her husband, former president Elías Antonio Saca. In exchange for acknowledging her involvement, she wanted a three-year sentence of community service.

The prosecution and defense did not reach a plea agreement; prosecutors wanted the accused to return $ 17.5 million, which her husband misappropriated during his term as president.

Former President Elias Antonio Saca is serving ten years in prison for embezzling more than 300 million from El Salvador’s public funds.

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