Quito (AFP) – The Ecuadorian prosecutor’s office said on Monday it was investigating former President Lenin Moreno over the disappearance of priceless artifacts from the presidential palace.
The prosecution said on Twitter that it was raiding Moreno’s home “as part of an investigation into the alleged crime of embezzlement related to the alleged disappearance of heritage pieces” from the government building.
Embezzlement is punishable by up to 13 years in prison in Ecuador.
Moreno, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, was accused of taking the artifacts by an ally of his predecessor Rafael Correa.
Moreno served as Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013, but the couple fell out and became enemies.
Correa is currently living in exile in Belgium, which granted him asylum after he was convicted in absentia of corruption and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Moreno dismissed the accusations in a post on Twitter as “just another story out of many that have been made up.”
He said he had opened his home to the search.
Moreno claims that the archaeological pieces that allegedly disappeared from the seat of government during his presidency “have been handed over, where appropriate, to the competent institutions for their register and custody.”
During his presidency, Correa opened a museum in the presidential palace to display jewelry and other gifts he received during official engagements, but Moreno later closed it.
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