Salvadoran Police Arrests Ernesto Muyshondt, Former Mayor of San Salvador

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Aug 2nd, 2021
Ernesto Muyshondt
Ernesto Muyshondt, former mayor of San Salvador

On June 6, the Salvadoran Police arrested Ernesto Muyshondt, the former mayor of San Salvador, for crimes related to misappropriation of employee earnings. The arrest order was issued by the office of the Salvadoran attorney General.

Muyshondt’s arrest took place outside the Isidro Menéndez Judicial Center. The former mayor was at a hearing where the prosecution wanted his bail removed; this hearing was related to another charge the former mayor faces.

I am being arrested by orders of Bukele,” said the mayor as he was being taken into custody. “I am the first political prisoner in El Salvador under the Bukele regimen,” stated Muyshondt.

The arrest came a day after Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the OAS, announced that he had hired the former mayor as an advisor. “Ernesto Muyshondt has agreed to join as an advisor to the General Secretariat of the OEA,” Twitted Almagro.

The Almagro announcement caused condemnation in El Salvador. There is no secret the former mayor is facing charges for giving money to gang leaders in exchange for votes in the 2014 Salvadoran presidential elections.

Ernesto Muyshondt has, in TV interviews, accepted that he gave money to gangs. Furthermore, there is a video and audio of the former mayor giving money to gang members.

After the arrest of Muyshondt and the announcement by Almagro, President Nayib Bukele and the El Salvador attorney general announced that they were cutting all ties to Almagro.

The Salvadorans with principles felt a slap when they saw yesterday that Luis Almagro was hiring Ernesto Muyshondt; someone who negotiated with the lives of families, of the people,” declared President Bukele.

Ernesto Muyshondt, a prominent, influential person in the right-wing political party ARENA, ended his three-year tenure as mayor of the nation’s capital at the end of May.

Ernesto Muyshondt 1st Arrangement

At the first arraignment after his arrest, Muyshondt was charged by the Salvadoran authorities with the misappropriation of employee funds retained for taxes and health benefits purposes. Muyshondt’s company withheld these funds from his employees and kept them for themselves.

Ernesto Muyshondt was absolved of the retention charges after paying $50,645 to the Salvadoran treasury; this included the initial amount plus fines and interests.

However, when leaving this hearing, Muyshondt was detained again. This time the Salvadoran government is charging the former mayor with the misappropriation of withholdings to the detriment of the Public Treasury during his tenure as mayor of San Salvador.

Once again, Muyshondt was taken to Jail; he will remain there until an arraignment regarding the second charge is conducted.

Ernesto Muyshondt 2nd Arrangement

At this arraignment, Muyshondt was charged with alleged tax evasion of over $500,000. While the mayor of the nation’s capital, Muyshondt, withheld taxes from city hall employees but never paid it to the government.

On June 15, the judge in the case denied bail. On June 18, the former mayor of San Salvador was transferred to La Esperanza Penal Center, also known as Mariona prison; he will stay there while on trial.

Ernesto Muyshondt
Ernesto Muyshondt, former mayor of San Salvador.

Chamber orders House Arrest for Ernesto Muyshondt

In July, the Third Criminal Chamber of San Salvador revoked the June 15 provisional arrest of Muyshonont for the crime of appropriation of tax withholdings to the detriment of the Public Treasury while mayor of the nation’s capital.

The chambers resolution orders that the accused leave the La Esperanza prison and be placed under house arrest; he must use an electronic bracelet while on trial. Furthermore, the former mayor must pay a $50,000 bail bond.

The release of Muyshondt to house arrest will occur in August. As of July 30, the former mayor remains in prison due that electronic bracelets are not available.

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