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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:11, May 24, 2007
Ecuadorian president backs economy minister
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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Wednesday publicly backed Minister of Economy and Finance Ricardo Patino who was accused of embezzling 135 million U.S. dollars of Ecuador's 2030 global bonds.

"This week began with a calumny (that) a mentally unhinged person was trying to besmirch the honor of one of the most honest and most patriotic men of this nation, my colleague Ricardo Patino," said Correa on the sidelines of the launch of Ecuador Without Barriers scheme to help disabled citizens.

Patino has separately said he will show a video on Wednesday to defend his innocence. In the video he appears alongside two executives from New York-based debt restructuring firm Abadi and Company, said the minister.

Ecuador's Attorney General began an investigation into Patino after receiving a copy of a video where Patino, his predecessor Armando Rodas Espinel, his advisor Eguez and two Abadi and Company officials discussed a possible debt moratorium on the bonds.

Patriotic Society Party legislator, Luis Almeida, has told local media that he would seek 25 signatures demanding the prosecution of Patino for embezzling public funds.

But his move was opposed by the Democratic Left Party, the Popular Democratic Movement and the RED party.

Source: Xinhua


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