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Salvador ex-president Saca gets 10-year graft term

© AFP/File | Elias Antonio Saca (C-R), who will serve another eight years in prison because he is already close to serving two years in detention, was tried along with six of his collaborators in the public funds theft case

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) - 

A court in El Salvador on Wednesday sentenced former president Elias Antonio Saca to ten years in prison for diverting 301 million dollars from state coffers during his term.

"Former President Elias Antonio Saca (2004-2009) has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crimes of embezzlement, money and asset laundering," the attorney general's office said on Twitter.

It added that Saca had become the first Salvadoran president "sentenced for corruption offenses."

The statement added a court in the capital also sentenced former private secretary Elmer Charlaix to 10 years in prison for the same crimes as the former president.

Communications Secretary Julio Rank, and the president of the state water company, Cesar Funes, meanwhile were sentenced to five years in prison.

Saca, who will serve another eight years in prison because he is already close to serving two years in detention, was tried along with six of his collaborators in the public funds theft case.

In a plea-bargaining deal, the former president agreed to having committed crimes of embezzlement, money and asset laundering, in exchange for the 10-year term. He faced a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Saca also was directed to return to the state personally his share of the loot -- or $260.7 million.

© 2018 AFP