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El Salvador to investigate donations to ex-president

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- El Salvador's president has asked the attorney general to investigate a US$10 million donation that Taiwan made 10 years ago to the Salvadoran government during the administration of then-President Francisco Flores.

President Mauricio Funes told reporters on Tuesday the complaint is based on suspicious operations detected by the U.S. Treasury Department, information received by prosecutors in September. He said he had a copy of the information but would not say how he received it.

The attorney general's office, which is independent, confirmed the investigation but said it could not provide details.

The U.S. report indicates Flores received checks totaling US$10 million from a Taiwanese government account between 2003 and 2004, Funes said. The donation was intended for a Salvadoran government agency registering land for poor farmers, but Funes said the money never reached the agency.

Flores, who was president in 1999-2004, could not be reached for comment, but he denied any wrongdoing in a local newspaper.

The attorney general is also investigating nine people from Flores' administration for embezzlement.

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