A new corruption scandal has implicated a senior ARENA official and cost the current Attorney General of El Salvador the chance at another term in office. Carlos Roberto Silva Pereira was arrested in southern California in October 2007. He had fled El Salvador where he faced corruption and money-laundering charges. He has been held by US authorities since that time and has not yet been extradited back to El Salvador. Silva is applying for political asylum in the US claiming his prosecution in El Salvador is politically motivated.
Two weeks ago, the online periodical El Faro disclosed a tape recording of a conversation between Roberto Silva and Alfredo Tórrez, an ARENA party official:
In that conversation, which took place in March 2008, the party's local director in San Salvador, Adolfo Tórrez, speaks with the former deputy Roberto Silva, offering to clear Silva and his wife in exchange for US$500,000. Torrez insinuates that he has already contacted judges and prosecutors to drop the charges of money laundering, corruption, and narco trafficking against Silva. (from
Journalism in the Americas).
The El Faro article also includes a copy of an FBI memorandum by the FBI's Legal Attache in San Salvador, Leo Navarrete, in which he describes obtaining the tape recording from a private investigator, and then giving the tape recording to Garrid Safie, Attorney General of San Salvador.
Despite receiving the tape recording, Safie apparently did not open any kind of investigation into the links between Torrez and Silva. This inaction is being used by ARENA officials to explain why they will not support Safie in his bid to have a second three year term as attorney general.
In addition, ARENA has relieved Torrez of his duties as ARENA's director for the department of San Salvador and has started proceedings to expel him from the party.