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  • The Isaias brothers, currently living in the U.S., are fugitives from Ecuadorean justice and are accused of interfering in the upcoming Ecuadorean election.

    The Isaias brothers, currently living in the U.S., are fugitives from Ecuadorean justice and are accused of interfering in the upcoming Ecuadorean election. | Photo: Archive

Published 29 October 2016

A pro-government group is alleging that the fugitive Isaias brothers are working behind the scenes to elect a government favorable to them in Ecuador.

Roberto and William Isaias, guilty of embezzlement in connection with their roles as the heads of bank Filanbanco during Ecuador's banking crisis in the late 1990s and currently living as fugitives in the United States, are not on the mind of most Ecuadoreans anymore.

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After they fled the country with millions of bailout funds that were given to Filanbanco during the country’s banking crisis, the brothers were found guilty in absentia and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2012 by the Ecuadorean National Court, which determined that the brothers had falsified Filanbanco’s financial statements. 

With the brothers on the run, the state was unable to recover the stolen money directly and eventually seized their assets in Ecuador. The pair have claimed the seizure was illegitimate and the result of political persecution by the government of Rafael Correa.

They've been repeatedly frustrated in their attempts to recover their assets, losing a case in a New York court and the U.N. Human Rights Committee rejecting the allegations their conviction in Ecuador amounted to political persecution.

Alberto Padilla, a former reporter with CNN, previously alleged the bankers had been financing an active opposition campaign against the Correa government since they arrived in the U.S.

Suffice it to say that the Isaias brothers have an ax to grind with the current administration.

Allegations have now emerged that they are secretly backing a political ticket in upcoming 2017 presidential election in Ecuador.

Guillermo Lasso, a right-wing former banker who came second to Correa in the last election, recently chose Andres Paez as his running mate. 

Paez, a longtime politician, and current lawmaker, has been repeatedly accused of having ties to the Isaias brothers, a charge he denies.

News that Paez would be Lasso's running mate came as a surprise to many inside Ecuador. The lawmaker has a history of making controversial statements and Lasso had previously hinted that he would select someone else as his running mate.

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The announcement itself raised eyebrows and the information was leaked, then denied, and then Paez jumped the gun, posting to his social media accounts before Lasso had made a statement, something considered a faux pas in a campaign.

A Facebook page known as Forajidos, which sympathizes with the Correa government, revealed that Paez had traveled to Miami, Florida, allegedly to meet with the Isaias brothers right before the announcement was made.

The reclusive Isaias brothers have not issued a statement, nor is there any evidence yet that they supporting the Lasso-Paez ticket.

However, given the differences between the Isaias brothers and the current administration, it is clear they would prefer a change in government.

Polls indicate the candidate of Ecuador's ruling Alianza Pais, Lenin Moreno, is favored to win the next general election in February 2017.

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