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Colombian president under fire after son's money laundering admission

Friday, August 4th 2023 - 10:35 UTC
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 President Gustavo Petro Urrgo  and his son Nicolas President Gustavo Petro Urrgo and his son Nicolas

Colombian President Gustavo Petro Urrgo insisted Thursday that he intends to remain in office until 2026 because he was elected by the people for such a commitment. The head of state made these remarks after his son Nicolás Petro Burgos admitted that his father's 2022 campaign had been financed with contributions from a questionable origin.

“If it was my people who elected me, I owe the election to no one else, then it is to the people that I must answer,” Petro said in Sincelejo, capital of the Caribbean department of Sucre.

The president came under the spotlight after Petro Burgos revealed to the Attorney General's Office that part of the allegedly illegal money he received went to the electoral campaign of his father.

“If President Gustavo Petro knew about the entry of dirty money to the campaign that took him to the Casa de Nariño, justice must go to the depth of that fact,” said former right-wing presidential candidate Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez on social networks.

“It is inevitable to start a process that restores the confidence of Colombians in democracy. For the health of Colombia Everything that generates a nauseating odor cannot be preserved. The illegitimate cannot remain,” he added.

Senator Jonathan Pulido Hernandez, better known as “Jota Pe Hernandez” said he would accuse Petro before the Committee of Investigation and Accusation. He believes the president did know about the entry of illegal money into his campaign.

”I will denounce Gustavo Petro before the Commission of Accusations. Nicolás (Petro) has confirmed to the Prosecutor's Office that his father did know about the entry of irregular money into the presidential campaign. I hope that for the first time, this commission will act on the evidence and not simply absolve,“ the lawmaker said.

”The criminal responsibility for the money received by Nicolás Petro falls on the beneficiary of the illicit, the candidate and now president Gustavo Petro, who must face right now what calls into question the legitimacy of his mandate,“ former President Andrés Pastrana argued while the former presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt wondered if Patro's party Colombia Humana would ”file a complaint for slander“ against Petro Burgos after prosecutors said Wednesday that Petro Burgos revealed under oath that illegal money entered his father's presidential campaign.

Prosecutor Mario Andrés Burgos, who is investigating Petro Burgos and his ex-wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vázquez Castro, for the crimes of illicit enrichment, money laundering, and violation of personal data, explained that the also deputy in the Department of Atlántico used the money captured in the campaign ”for his personal benefit and to increase his wealth in an unjustified manner.“

According to Prosecutor Burgos, the money Nicolás Petro received from several businessmen ”apparently would have exceeded the minimum ceilings allowed by law and part of it would not have been duly reported to the electoral authorities.“ He also requested the Bogotá court handling the case to release Daysuris Vásquez and keep Petro Burgos under house arrest while facing money laundering and illicit enrichment charges.

He also pointed out that Nicolás Petro has provided relevant and previously unknown information, and that he acknowledged having received ”high sums of money“ from Samuel Santander Lopesierra, a drug trafficker also known as the Marlboro Man, Gabriel Hilsaca, and Óscar Camacho.

Part of the money was used by Nicolás Petro and Days Vásquez for their personal benefit while the rest was invested in the 2022 presidential campaign, Attorney General's Office also maintains.

After agreeing to help investigators, Petro Burgos ”corroborates and ratifies the theory of the case of the Prosecutor's Office“ which was ”supported with sufficient legally obtained evidence.”

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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