Ecuador’s attorney general detains seven in Petroecuador corruption probe

(Reuters) – Ecuador’s attorney general has detained seven people, including former officials, as part of an investigation into suspected corruption in state oil company Petroecuador, it said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors carried out raids across several cities at the same time, with targets including Petroecuador’s offices in capital Quito, after receiving information from authorities in the United States about a case involving a former company official.

“The operation is connected to an investigation into an alleged bribery scheme,” the attorney general’s office said in a Twitter message.

Of the seven people detained, five are former public servants, the attorney general’s office added.

A former official from Ecuador’s economy ministry is among the detained, as well as two private citizens.

Ecuador’s former Energy Minister Xavier Vera resigned on Friday amid a separate investigation into accusations he arranged jobs at Petroecuador in exchange for bribes. Vera denies any wrongdoing.

President Guillermo Lasso named Fernando Santos, an experienced oil industry lawyer and former minister, as the country’s new energy minister on Monday.

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