ICE arrests millionaire fugitives from Ecuador

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week arrested two millionaire fugitives from Ecuador whose family donated heavily to American political campaigns.

Roberto and William Isaías, 74 and 75, were detained Wednesday in Miami and taken to a detention facility for undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation, The New York Times reported Friday.

ICE told the Times that the brothers were “unlawfully present” in the U.S.

{mosads}ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The Isaías brothers were convicted in 2012 of embezzlement by an Ecuadorean court and sentenced to prison terms in absentia, since they had been living in South Florida for nearly a decade. The brothers have denied any wrongdoing, claiming the Ecuadorean government politicized the case and wrongfully seized their assets, the Times reported.

The Ecuadorean government alleges that the brothers cost the country $400 million and has sought their extradition for years.

As Ecuador sought the duo’s extradition, the Isaías family reportedly donated tens of thousands of dollars to members of the U.S. Congress and $90,000 to former President Obama’s reelection campaign. 

The Department of Justice rejected Ecuador’s extradition request a year after the brothers’ donation to Obama’s reelection campaign, saying the request lacked sufficient proof. The Obama administration has denied accusations by the Ecuadorean government that its decision to deny the request was impacted by the donation.

Alvin Davis, the Ecuadorean government’s lawyer in Miami, told the Times that a new request for extradition is pending. ICE said the brothers are now expected to appear for a deportation hearing. 

Davis said the government is preparing to fight for $1.3 billion in damages after winning a civil case in Florida against the Isaías brothers. 

Roberto Isaías previously denied making political donations in exchange for favors, according to the Times. 

“My family has given to about 20 congressmen who fight for human rights and freedom of speech in Latin America,” he said in 2014. “That’s legal.”


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