El Salvadoran ex-President Mauricio Funes sentenced to 6 years for tax evasion

El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes listens to a question during a joint news conference, in Guatemala City, Feb. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

An El Salvador court sentenced former President Mauricio Funes Wednesday to six years in prison for tax evasion, the second time in barely more than a month that a court has sentenced the ex-leader in absentia.

Prosecutors had asked for an eight-year sentence against Funes, who lives in Nicaragua.

In late May, another tribunal sentenced Funes to 14 years in prison for negotiating with the country’s powerful street gangs during his administration.

El Salvador has pursued Funes, 64, who governed from 2009 to 2014, for other alleged crimes in at least a half dozen cases. Nicaragua gave him citizenship in 2019.

Funes is the second former Salvadoran president sentenced to prison for illegal activity during his administration. In 2018, former President Tony Saca was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to diverting more than $300 million in state funds. He was Funes’ predecessor, governing from 2004 to 2009.

El Salvador changed its laws last year to allow trials in absentia.

Prosecutors alleged Funes dodged about $85,000 in taxes in 2014, his last year in office. The court ordered him to pay $200,000 in fines and interest.