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Menendez unaware of probe into his ties to former Ecuadorean bankers


file photo by Boyd Loving at Ridgewood REORG

Menendez unaware of probe into his ties to former Ecuadorean bankers
Saturday January 25, 2014, 12:01 PM
The Record

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez said Friday that he is unaware of any federal investigation into his interactions with a pair of former Ecuadorean bankers living in the United States.

“I am not aware of any official inquiry in this matter,” he said, a day after NBC New York reported that the U.S. Justice Department was looking into the Democratic senator’s ties to the bankers.

The Record and Herald News were unable to confirm on Friday whether an investigation was under way.

The two former bankers, brothers named Roberto and William Isaias, have lived in Florida since 2000. They fled Ecuador after their bank, Filibanco, one of the country’s largest financial institutions, collapsed amid a banking crisis in the late 1990s.

Ecuadorean officials have sought extradition of the two men for more than a decade. The country accuses them of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars of bailout money before fleeing to Florida. In 2008, Ecuador seized hundreds of assets belonging to the brothers, including several television stations. The Ecuadorean government said it was trying to recoup some of the money taken by the Isaiases, but critics contend that the move was an attempt to tighten government control over the South American country’s news media.

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