“Money can’t buy happiness” goes the saying. While this can be true to one extent or another, money can certainly buy protection from your enemies, as Ecuadorian billionaire brothers, Robert and William Isaias, have conveniently discovered.
The Ecuadorian billionaire brothers were sentenced in 2003 in absentia to 8 years in prison on charges of embezzlement. They have since avoided punishment by lining the pockets of high-level American politicians to ensure their “safety” from Ecuadorian law.
But what is the deal with the Isaias duo? After a decade-long trial, an Ecuadorian court found the brothers guilty of defrauding Filanbanco, a bank they owned, after it collapsed in the 1990s. As a result, the state and its taxpayers incurred losses of over $400 million, with Ecuadorian citizens taking to the streets to protest the injustice. Fortunately for them, the Isaias fled long before the final judgment to enjoy a life of luxury in Florida – the famous hub of anti-Castro activists and billionaires living lavish lifestyles.
Repeated calls by President Correa to extradite the two fraudulent bankers back to Ecuador to serve their sentence fell on deaf ears, and, as it turns out, campaign donations played a large part in these developments. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has been thrown into the spotlight of the affair and is under investigation by the Department of Justice for his dodgy involvement in the immigration status of the Isaias brothers. Could Menendez have crossed a fine line in his protection of the brothers from Ecuadorian law? Or was he merely fulfilling his political duties in dealing with immigration inquiries and helping families in need?