San Salvador: El Salvador believes ex-president Francisco Flores fled the country, after being accused of misappropriating USD 5.3 million donated by Taiwan, authorities have said.
"We strongly suspect (Flores) left by sea on a yacht and went to Puerta del Sol marina in Aserradero, Nicaragua to refuel and then went on to Panama," Justice Minister Ricardo Perdomo told reporters yesterday.
There also is a conflicting report that Flores left El Salvador on a private plane for Panama, Perdomo added.
There is no legal migration record of Flores leaving the country or entering another country. But authorities suspect Flores left and may have entered Panama illegally, Perdomo said. Panama has a long history of granting political asylum.
Friday, legislature speaker Sigfrido Reyes asked Panama to help locate Flores, after a Panamanian media outlet reported Flores was in that country.
Attorney General Luis Martinez told broadcaster TCS last month that Flores is wanted for embezzlement, illicit enrichment and disobedience.
But so far an arrest warrant has not been issued.
In power between 1999 and 2004, Flores was investigated both by Congress and the attorney general`s office in the wake of allegations by President Mauricio Funes that Flores received USD 10 million in donations from Taiwan without accounting for them.
Funes claimed Taipei donated the money to El Salvador in the waning months of Flores` presidency, between 2003 and 2004.
Flores has said he accepted the money but did nothing inappropriate, passing it on through the proper channels.