Millionaire Brothers Wanted by Ecuador Are Arrested in Miami by ICE

Millionaire Brothers Wanted by Ecuador Are Arrested in Miami by ICE

Two millionaire fugitives from Ecuador, whose family poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into American political campaigns as they fought to stay in the United States, were arrested this week in Miami by immigration authorities, officials said Friday.

Roberto and William Isaías, 74 and 75, were taken on Wednesday to a detention facility where undocumented immigrants are held pending deportation, according to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the authorities to make the arrests, but ICE’s statement said the brothers were “unlawfully present” in the United States.

The Isaías brothers, bankers vilified in Ecuador for increasing their wealth in the late 1990s just as their bank collapsed — wiping out tens of thousands of customers’ savings — were convicted of embezzlement by a court there in 2012. They were sentenced to prison terms in absentia, having arrived in South Florida almost a decade earlier.

A renewed request for extradition is pending, said Alvin B. Davis, the Ecuadorean government’s lawyer in Miami. The Department of Justice referred questions to ICE.

The Isaías brothers are now expected to appear for a deportation hearing in immigration court, said Nestor J. Yglesias, a spokesman for ICE.

Mr. Davis said the government of Ecuador, having won a civil case in Florida against the brothers, is preparing to fight for some $1.3 billion in damages. The arrest left him “gratified,” he said.

“They need to be held responsible after all these years,” Mr. Davis said.

The Isaías’s lawyer in Ecuador, Jorge Zavala Egas, referred questions about the arrest to a South Florida publicist, Alfredo J. Balsera.

Contacted by phone, Mr. Balsera said The New York Times had acted in “bad faith” in previous articles about the Isaías case and declined to comment.

In a 2014 interview, Roberto Isaías denied asking for favors in exchange for political donations.

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

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