Latin America & Caribbean

El Salvador ex-leader Francisco Flores in coma

Former El Salvador President Francisco Flores attends a hearing in San Salvador, El Salvador on 3 December, 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Francisco Flores surrendered to the judicial authorities in 2014

The former president of El Salvador, Francisco Flores, is in a coma after he suffered an arterial obstruction.

Mr Flores, 56, governed El Salvador from 1999 to 2004.

He was under house arrest after being accused of misappropriating $15m (£10.5m) given the country by Taiwan during his term in office, which he denies.

His lawyer said Mr Flores had been found unconscious at his home on Sunday evening.

It is the third time in the past 18 months that Mr Flores has been taken to hospital with serious health problems.

His lawyer described his condition as "very serious and critical".

She said that an obstruction in one of his arteries had left the right side of his body paralysed.

Mr Flores handed himself in to the authorities in September 2014.

He has been charged with embezzlement and making illicit gains.

Prosecutors say he misappropriated $5m and transferred it to his private bank account. Another $10m is alleged to have gone into his party's coffers.

Mr Flores, from the conservative Arena party, said the money was donated by Taiwan to help with reconstruction efforts after two earthquakes and to help tackle crime in the Central American nation.

He said that El Salvador enjoyed "a privileged relationship" with Taiwan because it backed the Asian country's request for membership of the United Nations.

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