The name of Ma. Paula Christiansen came to the fore for the investigations within the impeachment of the superintendent of banks for the ISSPOL case. The former public official, who was involved in acts of corruption, is now a benchmark on the issue of aesthetics and works as a speaker sharing her experience as a leading woman.
The name of Maria Paula Christiansen D. sounded again in the national conjuncture after, in the framework of the process of impeachment to the Superintendent of Companies, Victor Anchundia, the president of the Assembly’s Audit Committee, will project a check for $ 230 thousand drawn in 2018 by Jorge Chérrez – main accused of the disappearance of ISSPOL funds – on behalf of María Christiansen.
During his appearance, the former Minister of the Interior, José Serrano, the president of the Commission, Fernando Villvicencio, asked Serrano if he had knowledge of that document, provided by the United States justice.
Although the former legislator admitted know about this check, could not justify about the purpose of that money that would be related to a SPA. In addition, he assured that he did not know or have any relationship with Chérrez.
According to the records of the Comptroller General of the State (CGE), Ma. Paula Christiansen D. first entered the public sector in 2014 as General Financial Administrative Coordinator, at the Ministry of Interior. In the same year, she was also Administrative Director of the same entity; Later, she served as General Financial Administrative Coordinator in Zonal Coordination 1 of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, culminating her work in 2016.
In 2017 is the year in which more charges registered in the public sector. First she was General Manager in the Public Companies Coordinating Company – EMCO EP, then she became Advisor 2 in the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing where she also held the position of General Financial Administrative Coordinator. In the National Storage Unit ‘UNA EP’ he was Administrative Manager and Human Talent, while in the Public Company Yachay he was Financial Administrative Manager.
According to his Affidavit of Assets, Christiansen began his activities in the public sector with a total Equity of $ 50 thousand and ended with an Equity of $ 11,709.
An investigative report from the Plan V media, which is titled “The carousel of contracts in the Ministry of the Interior”, published in August 2021, it indicates that people close to the circle of the former Minister of the Interior, José Serrano (during the government of Rafael Correa), have been prosecuted for allegedly belonging to a bribery network to deliver contracts for goods and services in exchange for a 10% commission for processing.
Throughout this story, which is supported by the case file and reports from the prosecution, it is mentioned that, after tax interceptions, Christiansen would have engaged in a conversation with Boris Platonoff Serrano – former administrative director of the Ministry of the Interior and principal implicated in the investigation by illicit association– where Ma. Paula says “I have been José’s right hand for seven years.”
However, the report mentions that Ma. Paula Christiansen could not be linked if.
How was the process
In November 2017, the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) opened an investigation process because there were suspicions that in the Ministry of Interior acts of corruption on the award of contracts for the purchase of horses, vests, ammunition and automobiles, according to information from El Comercio.
In this process, while investigating an alleged crime of concussion, the prosecution found elements that involved Christiansen and other subjects in an alleged crime of influence peddling.
Although the comptroller and prosecutor’s office analyzed these irregularities, and, despite the fact that this last institution determined that Ma. Paula Christiansen, together with two other subjects, would have associated to require payments to suppliers of the Ministry of the Interior, during 2014, his lawyer, Diego Chimbo, said that there was no concussion investigation and that his client was not directly linked or accused.
The prosecutor at that time (2018), Claudia Romero, said that Christiansen had left the country with her husband and that she was not driving bank accounts nor did he register assets in his name.
When asked about the current status of Christiansen’s processes, his lawyer Diego Chimbo said that his client has no arrest warrant. “She was involved in a case of illicit association of officials of the Ministry of the Interior where an arrest warrant was taken from her and it has already been lifted because no evidence of participation was found,” he said.
A special examination by the Comptroller’s Office, which was determined after the investigations of the case, indicated that between payment agreements and hiring processes, the Ministry of Interior subscribed for a total of $ 243,960,515.49, according to information disclosed by Expreso in 2017.
“The contracts under the eye were awarded directly under the protection of a institutional emergency that Serrano declared on January 4, 2013 and that it was extended through various ministerial agreements, ”says the media.
In 2014, María Paula Christiansen D. along with the then Minister of the Interior, José Serrano, traveled to India for the signing a contract for $ 24,479,500 with the Indian company MKU Private Limited for the purchase of 41 thousand ballistic protection vests.
While, in 2015, Christiansen would have formalized a payment agreement of $ 1,834,894.65 with the company Road Track Ecuador SA for the satellite monitoring and tracking service of Police vehicles.
It is known that currently María Paula Christiansen resides in Miami, United States, where it also owns the Mint Wellness Center, an aesthetic center that has a headquarters in Quito.
In different international press releases, Christiansen is cataloged as a medical esthetician with experience in the beauty and wellness industry, not to mention her career in the public sector of Ecuador.
She was awarded by the Women Economic Forum (WEF) in the category of “iconic women” and, according to Diario Las Américas, in May 2021, she opened a new interior design, decoration and remodeling company called ‘Mint Design’, in Miami.
According to its Linkedin page, where it does not register its experience In the public sector, he is General Manager at Mint Wellness Center since November 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Miami.
ISSPOL scam case
Christiansen’s name came to light again after the National Assembly presented a copy of a check in his name issued by Jorge Chérrez, for a value of $ 230 thousand with the concept of “Contract / SPA store / UIO ”.
Faced with this, his lawyer, Diego Chimbo, said he did not know of the theme. “I can’t make a statement about that, I don’t know and neither has Mrs. Ma. Paula Christiansen authorized me, it’s impossible for me to give her an argument,” he mentioned curtly.
Contract for the acquisition of vehicles for the National Police
In 2015, Ma. Paula Christiansen, as general financial administrative coordinator of the Ministry of the Interior, signed an International Emergency contract for the acquisition of vehicles for the reestablishment of control of order, in which Juan Francisco Herdoiza, registers as authorized dealer of the INKAS ARMORED VEHICLE MANUFACTURING factory and contractor. The document does not specify the value of the contract.
This would be one of the emerging contracts authorized by Ma. Paula Christiansen, through which, according to a report from the Comptroller’s Office, a total amount of $ 243,960,515.49 would have been allocated.
“There is a previous investigation that was born from the first process in which they said that she (Christiansen) has nothing to do with it, but there is no tax instruction or a formal process. It is a preliminary investigation that is already three years old and is even closed because there are no elements or evidence “, Diego Chimbo, lawyer for Ma. Paula Christiansen.
“This case is one of the greatest damages committed in this country to the National Police. We are talking about around $ 940 million of ISSPOL scam. They robbed the Police and that is a sui generis event ”, Fernando Villavicencio, president of the Supervisory Commission.