SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Former El Salvador President Francisco Flores was taken from his home in San Salvador where he was under house arrest to prison on Friday where he will remain until he faces trial on corruption charges.
Flores, who was president of the Central American country from 1999 to 2004, was on the run from January until early September when he handed himself in to Judge Levis Orellana. He has been accused of misappropriating $15 million donated by Taiwan for earthquake relief efforts in 2001.
Orellana’s order to put Flores under house arrest until he faced trial angered critics who argued he should be kept in jail, given he had been on the run for months.
On Wednesday night, his house arrest was overturned by a criminal court, and on Friday, he emerged handcuffed and looking relaxed from his house in an up-market area. He was then taken to jail.
“The chances of him fleeing have not disappeared as he has shown by his actions in the past,” the judiciary said in a statement.
Flores’ alleged corruption came to light when former President Mauricio Funes, who ruled the country from 2009 to 2014, revealed that the United States was investigating Flores for suspicious movements into his bank accounts.
According to the allegations against him, the money Flores received came from former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who was found guilty of corruption in 2009 and imprisoned, originally for life before his sentence was reduced.
Flores is believed to have been in Panama. An Interpol red notice, the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant, had been issued against him.
Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Andrew Hay