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Head of Petroecuador resigns following prosecutor raid on offices

Published Feb 10, 2023 11:22AM ET Updated Feb 10, 2023 03:21PM ET
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By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) -Hugo Aguiar, general manager of Ecuadorean state-run oil company Petroecuador, resigned after his home was among locations searched by the attorney general's office in a corruption probe, the country's energy minister said on Friday.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors raided offices at the company and an office at the presidency as part of an investigation into alleged corruption.

"Tomorrow we'll meet in an extraordinary session at 10 a.m.," Energy Minister Fernando Santos told Reuters by phone, referring to the company's board. "There we will accept (the resignation) and name an interim, we'll name an interim so we can calmly look at the profile for a definitive replacement."

Aguiar gave the "voluntary and irrevocable resignation" in a letter addressed to the coordinator of Ecuador's public companies, shared with the energy ministry and national planning secretary and seen by Reuters.

The letter contained no other details and it was not immediately possible to reach Aguiar for comment.

Though President Guillermo Lasso asked managers of public companies to vacate their positions in January amid reports of possible corruption in some entities, Petroecuador's board confirmed Aguiar in his post just last week.

Prosecutors also targeted Petroecuador's offices in raids last year, after receiving information from U.S. authorities about a case involving a former company official. The former energy minister resigned amid a separate investigation into bribery accusations, which he denies.

"The attorney general's office and police are searching the management and procurator offices of Petroecuador and the judicial sub-secretary of the presidency in Quito," the attorney general's office said on Twitter.

The office clarified in a later statement that the raids, which included various homes, are part of investigations into an alleged corruption case involving Petroecuador that began in August 2022.

Lasso's communications office said it will fully cooperate with prosecutors.

"The government reiterates its zero tolerance against corruption. The government ratifies its commitment and firm stance in favor of transparency," it said in a statement on Twitter.

Petroecuador retweeted the government's statement and added in its own post that its board would hold an urgent meeting.

Head of Petroecuador resigns following prosecutor raid on offices

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