Ex Salvadoran President Granted Nicaraguan Citizenship

Daniel Ortega and former Salvadoran president Salvador Sánchez Ceren

Former president Salvador Sanchez Ceren is accused of illegal enrichment, embezzlement and money laundering.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo bestowed Nicaraguan citizenship on former Salvadoran president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who also has an international arrest warrant for the alleged crimes of illegal enrichment, embezzlement and money laundering.

Along with the former Salvadorean president, his wife Rosa Margarita Villalta, his daughter Claudia Lissette Sánchez Villalta, and his grandson Juan Carlos Guardado Sanchez were also naturalized, according to certifications from the Ministry of the Interior (MIGOB), published in the official newspaper Gazette, of this Friday July 30, 2021.

According to the Salvadoran Prosecutor’s Office, Sanchez received $530,000 dollars when he served as Vice President of President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014), who also has six arrest warrants for various acts of corruption. Funes fled to Nicaragua in September 2016, and in July 2019 became a Nicaraguan citizen along with his wife and two of his children. The Nicaraguan Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens.

Sanchez —a former guerrilla commander of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN)—, has been in Nicaragua since November 2020, according to officials from the Nayib Bukele administration in El Salvador.

The Funes-Sanchez Duet

Sanchez is the fourth former Salvadoran president accused of corruption charges: Francisco Flores, who died in 2016; Antonio Saca, in prison since 2017; and Mauricio Funes, a fugitive in Nicaragua.

Along with Sanchez, nine other former government officials were accused on July 22 of allegedly receiving irregular payments or “bonuses” during the Funes Administration, also from the FMLN. According to the Judiciary, Funes embezzled some 351 million dollars from the state budget.

The Salvadoran online newspaper “El Faro” published eight years ago an investigation into the existence of “bonuses,” a mechanism to hide the real salary that ministers, deputy ministers and some heads of decentralized and autonomous institutions received with funds from a secret budget allocation of the presidency, a cash complement for which they paid no income tax.

Confidencial revealed in May 2019 that, in Nicaragua, Funes earns a monthly salary of more than 90,000 cordobas in Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Ministry, likewise his son Diego Funes Cañas is also hired at the same institution for an amount of 47,250 cordobas. The positions they both hold is unknown. (1 USD = 35 córdobas)

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