Ecuador's president to face impeachment trial

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso (File photo: Xinhua)

QUITO, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso will face an impeachment trial on Tuesday for alleged embezzlement, Virgilio Saquicela, president of the National Assembly, said Sunday.

According to Saquicela, the trial will begin at 10:00 a.m. local time (1500 GMT) in keeping with legislative regulations after a motion to hold impeachment proceedings was approved last week.

Lasso, a 67-year-old former banker, is accused by the opposition of embezzling funds through a contract signed between state-owned oil tanker fleet Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana and the privately-owned company Amazonas Tanker, for the rental of vessels to ship hydrocarbons.

The contract was signed in 2018 and renewed in 2020, before Lasso became president in May 2021, but his opponents claimed he allowed the business arrangement to continue despite knowing it meant losses for the state.

After the trial, the National Assembly must convene another plenary session, where lawmakers will vote for or against Lasso's impeachment and a possible ouster from office. The session could be held as soon as May 20.

Lasso, who will complete two years in office on May 24, said he would appear before lawmakers to defend himself against what he described as a "parliamentary coup d'etat."