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Colombia: Justice released the son of President Gustavo Petro on probation, accused of corruption

Nicolás Petro revealed that his father received money from drug traffickers to finance the electoral campaign that led him to the presidency.

Nicolás Petro, son of the president of Colombiaand his ex-wife Daysuris Vásquez they were released by decision of the judge 74 of guarantees from Bogotá, but will remain linked to the process that the Prosecutor’s Office follows them for alleged acts of corruption related to his father’s electoral campaign.

The investigative body accused the son of Gustavo Petro of the crimes of illicit enrichment and money laundering; while Vásquez is accused of money laundering and violation of personal data.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the son of the Head of State “provided relevant information” that this body was unaware of the entry of irregular money to the presidential campaign, which would have “exceeded the limits allowed by law” and were not reported to the electoral authorities.

“Access to the request for imposition of insurance measurebut non-custodial measures, for Mr. Nicolás Fernando Petro,” said the judge in the case, Omar Beltrán, at the end of a long hearing that ended around local midnight.

The magistrate added that Nicolás Petro will not be able to leave Barranquillathe city in the north of the country where he resides, nor have contact with others involved in the investigation into alleged money laundering and illicit enrichment.

“You have to maintain good conduct, you will have to appear at any call that is made on behalf of the process. You will be prohibited from leaving Colombia. You are also prohibited from participating in any political rally,” the judge told the defendant, according to what he reproduced the local newspaper El Tiempo.

Nicolás Petro and Daysuris Vásquez during Friday’s hearing before the Colombian court. Photo: EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda/Judicial Power.

During the hearing, Nicolás Petro’s defense lawyer, David Teleki, expressed his concern for the safety of the president’s son in case of going to prison.

“If he went to jail, your honor, it doesn’t even last 24 hours,” he said, adding: “He is a key witness to completely disrupt a corrupt structure that must be investigated and that must bring those responsible before the courts.” .

“For this, it is essential that Nicolás Petro, his voice, his words cannot be silenced (…) by pressure of any kind,” added the lawyer.

Under these arguments, the magistrate accepted the probation and rejected the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to have him under house arrestby qualifying the application as “precarious”.

After the judicial decision, the Colombian president published a message on his personal Twitter account and reiterated that he will not pressure the Justice.

On the other hand, for the ex-wife of Nicolás Petro, daysuris vasquez -accused of money laundering and violation of personal data- the judge issued the probation with the same conditions.

A complaint that shook the president

The president’s eldest son and his ex-wife were arrested last Saturday by the prosecutor’s office and at Thursday’s hearing, the prosecutor in the case, Mario Burgos, said that after accepting a collaboration agreement with the Justice, Nicolás Petro revealed that part of the money supposedly The illegal immigrant he received entered his father’s 2022 election campaign.

According to the prosecutor, the president’s son confessed to alleged irregular income by Samuel Santander Lopesierra – who was imprisoned in the United States for drug trafficking between 2003 and 2021 – and a son of Alfonso “el turco” Hilsaca, a businessman accused in the passed by the prosecution for financing paramilitary groups and planning homicides.

President Petro said on Friday that he received “with pain” the information about the alleged inflow of drug money into his campaign, but said that “nothing and no one can stop the fight of a lifetime against corruption,” while the opposition multiplied criticism and plans a march to demand his removal from office.

Petro assured that he has not asked his children to commit crimesand that the case for which Nicolás is being investigated will not serve to overthrow the “first people’s government in the country.”

“You can be absolutely certain that This government ends according to the popular mandate, no one else’s. And that is good that it is clear in Colombia: there is no one who can put an end to this government, let it be the people themselves, and the people gave an order by majority at the ballot box,” the president said.

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