SAN SALVADOR (El Salvador), Feb 11, 2016:

El Salvador’s Supreme Court ordered a lower tribunal to open a civil prosecution Wednesday against former President Mauricio Funes for possible illicit enrichment.

The ruling also freezes Funes’ bank accounts and the titles to eight automobiles in his and a son’s names.

The civil case does not involve criminal charges.

Nine of the 15 justices voted for the ruling after considering a report alleging that Funes was unable to justify more than US$728,000 in expenditures. Comparing his income and expenditures, the investigation determined that he could not have saved the money during his time in office, the court said.

The ex-president had predicted earlier that the court would order a prosecution. Via Twitter he criticized the ruling and argued that four of the justices had previously attacked his government while on the Constitutional Court.

Funes was president from 2009-2014 as a member of a political party that formed from a former guerrilla group.

He was just the latest among a recent run of former Central American presidents facing legal problems.

Another Salvadoran ex-president, Francisco Flores, was under house arrest on embezzlement and illicit enrichment charges when he died last month following a cerebral hemorrhage.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina resigned his position last year and was subsequently arrested and jailed on charges of illicit association, customs fraud and bribery.

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