An Ecuadorian supreme court sentenced the country’s ex-leftist president, Rafael Correa, to eight years in prison in absentia for corruption.
Correa remained in power for 10 years until 2017, when he went into exile in Belgium. Deny any wrongdoing.
The court found he and 19 other defendants guilty of accepting $ 7.5 million (£ 6 million) in bribes from private companies in exchange for government contracts.
The condemned were also excluded from any political role for 25 years.
Among these is his former vice president Jorge Glas, who is serving a six-year prison sentence for accepting a bribe from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Correa tweeted a dismissive response to the national court ruling, which can still be appealed.
“Well, this was what they were looking for: manipulating justice to get what they could never get through the ballot box.
“I’m fine. I’m worried about my colleagues. We will certainly win internationally, because this is ridiculous, but it takes years,” he said.
Correa’s rule was characterized by large-scale spending and social infrastructure projects, as well as defaults on loans and tensions with the United States.