El Salvador asks Interpol to help detain ex-congress chief

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A judge in El Salvador asked Interpol to issue a red note detention order for Sigfrido Reyes, the former president of the country’s congress, and three other people on corruption allegations.

The press office for the court in San Salvador confirmed Thursday that the decision came after a hearing in the case of 14 people accused of laundering $6.5 million, defrauding the state in land purchases and appropriation of government funds.

The others sought in the order are Reyes’ brother and two associates. The remaining 10 accused in the case include his wife, judicial workers and others; they were allowed bail but ordered to surrender their passports, not to leave the country or change residence and to appear before the court every two weeks.

Reyes is a former guerrilla from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front who led the Legislative Assembly from 2011 to 2015 and later directed a government agency that promotes exports under the 2014-2019 presidency of Salvador Sánchez Cerén.

Authorities said Reyes left the country Nov. 22 and is believed to be in France or Russia.

Prosecutors say he had an increase of some $781,000 in assets that could not be justified by his salary.

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