Colombia’s justice department will investigate President Petro through the competent authorities for alleged irregular campaign financing. This request was made by the country’s Attorney General’s Office following recent statements made by the president’s son, which implicated the first lady, Victoria Alcocer, in the receipt of irregular funds from a businessman in Barranquilla.
The snowball effect surrounding the alleged irregular campaign financing that brought Gustavo Petro to the presidency in 2022 grows with each passing day. Rumors from months ago were compounded by the blow of the arrest of Nicolas Petro, the president’s eldest son and a regional deputy in Barranquilla, in July.
His confessions are paving the way for Colombian judicial authorities, who now have their sights set directly on the president. In a video leaked to the press, Nicolas Petro not only reaffirmed his statements from a few months ago, in which he acknowledged drug money entering his father’s campaign but also directly implicated the president’s wife in the matter.
The Attorney General points to the president
The information was disclosed by the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, on the night of October 2: the president of the Republic will be directly investigated for alleged irregular campaign financing.
“The deputy prosecutor before the tribunal handling the case has referred the case (…) to investigate the alleged occurrence of crimes related to the financing of the presidential campaign of Mr. Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, President of the Republic of Colombia, or any other act that may constitute a crime,” the prosecutor’s office announced in a statement.
The same document clarifies that all of this is within the context of the investigation and statements made by Nicolas Petro, the president’s son, who faces accusations of illicit enrichment and money laundering.
This is another chapter in the political battle between the head of state and the Attorney General of the Nation. Nevertheless, the events are becoming increasingly serious, as the case and investigations now reach the president himself for actions that could constitute a serious crime.
The criminal implications are yet to be determined, but the facts could end up in a political trial in the Senate that derails the legislative initiatives the government is advancing in the chambers.
“Blow to the Constitution”
The president has once again denied the allegations and affirmed the transparency of his campaign and election process. As he did during his son’s initial statements in front of the judge in August, Gustavo Petro has again pointed out that when the events his son claims occurred in Barranquilla, he was not campaigning.
In this regard, the president has denounced what he considers “a blow to the Constitution,” the allegations made against him by the Attorney General in this case involving his son.
“The Attorney General is forwarding copies against me, based on an illegal interrogation in which the interrogator from his office asked questions about me, a matter that is a true blow to the Constitution since I am a privileged individual, as a senator at the time and as president now,” the president said.
Likewise, the president has denounced the leak of his son’s interrogation, which was published by a well-known media outlet, the magazine Semana, traditionally very critical of the president’s administration and the president himself.
“In an aberrant manner, a magazine publishes my son’s interrogation when the law does not allow the publicity of these documents that were irresponsibly and criminally handed over,” Gustavo Petro said.
“Even more aberrantly, in my son’s interrogation, they discuss the financing of an event apparently by businessman Euclides Torres that took place five months before my campaign began, meaning it is not covered by electoral campaign laws,” the president added, denouncing the unconstitutionality of the accusations in his view since he was not campaigning at the time of the events.
Five Months Before the Campaign
President Petro’s defense to deny his involvement in irregular campaign financing is based on the timeline. According to the president, the events confessed by his son, which the Prosecutor’s Office is using to point to the president, occurred five months before the campaign began.
“Given the enormity of the Prosecutor’s Office interrogator’s mistake, the Attorney General has forwarded copies to the House’s accusation committee regarding an act that is by no means irregular: a political meeting, which is a right, and which did not belong to the campaign simply because it took place five months before,” the president has stated in a lengthy letter to discredit the prosecutor’s decision.
Gustavo Petro concludes his statement by denouncing what he perceives as a long-standing political persecution by the Colombian justice system against his political career for ideological reasons. “I thus complete eight years of constant investigation into me by the prosecution, which has sought to imprison me solely to prevent progressivism under my leadership from governing the country,” the president concludes.