ColombiaOne.comColombia newsWitness Clears President Petro of Irregular Campaign Financing

Witness Clears President Petro of Irregular Campaign Financing


Petro irregular financing
Main accusing witness vindicates President Petro of irregular financing – Credit: Telemedellin / CC BY-SA 3.0

Day Vásquez, the former daughter-in-law of President Gustavo Petro and a key witness in the investigation of alleged corruption in the financing of the 2022 presidential campaign, has once again cleared the president of any wrongdoing. As the Prosecutor’s Office continues its probe into Nicolás Petro, the president’s eldest son, who is directly accused by his ex-wife of illicit enrichment and money laundering, Vásquez has sought to dispel any suspicions regarding the president’s knowledge of the alleged irregular financial contributions to his campaign.

“He is one more victim,” whistleblower Day Vasquez said yesterday about President Petro. Vasquez herself is being investigated for the alleged crimes of money laundering and violation of personal data in the same case being pursued against her ex-husband.

President Petro Vindication

Day Vasquez, on a previous occasion, had asserted that the current president was unaware of the dubious funds entering his campaign. Yesterday, she reiterated this claim, confirming her statement via her social media platforms.

“I repeat and ratify: Gustavo Petro did not know anything about the money received by Nicolas during the presidential campaign. He is one more victim!”, wrote the ex-wife of the president’s son and main defendant in the case.

Nicolas Petro did accuse his father

The case extends further, as Nicolas Petro himself admitted that his father knew about the illicit funds entering his campaign at the time.

“Yes. He knew perfectly well that Euclides was the one who financed the campaign,” said the president’s eldest son about Euclides Torres, a powerful businessman who allegedly channeled illicit funds to Gustavo Petro’s presidential campaign.

In a complex situation, the president’s son implicated former Senator Armando Benedetti, ex-chief of staff Laura Sarabia—who remains in close contact with the nation’s leader—and Veronica Alcocer, the president’s wife. Nicolas Petro disclosed to journalists, “I repeatedly informed him; during our attendance at events, Pedro Florez was invariably present. Subsequently, the two of us would discuss the funding provided by Euclides. Benedetti consistently emphasized in my presence that Euclides was the financier behind the events and the campaign.”

Vasquez’s two-year immunity

As the principal witness against her ex-husband, Day Vasquez has been granted “total immunity” for a period of two years. It’s important to note that Vasquez is currently under investigation for certain offenses. However, during this immunity period, she will not face criminal charges.

The prosecutor’s office reported that a Barranquilla control of guarantees judge reviewed the judicial negotiation terms and confirmed their legality regarding money laundering, illicit enrichment, embezzlement by appropriation, and improper interest in contract conclusions. The investigation into the defendant for personal data violation charges will proceed.

Vasquez recently affirmed her dedication to cooperating with the legal system. She stated, “I agree with the Judge’s ruling and aim to resolve and to seek alternative negotiation avenues to ensure Colombia learns the full truth of the events. I am committed to disclosing all I know regarding Mr. Nicolas Petro Burgos,” a message she shared on her social media platforms a few days ago.

The case of alleged corruption

The arrest of Nicolás Petro on July 29 last year brought a scandal to light. The eldest son of Colombia’s president had been under investigation since March 2023 for allegations of money laundering and illicit enrichment, leading to his subsequent arrest.

Allegations made by Nicolas Petro’s ex-wife, Day Vasquez, initiated the investigation. Vasquez alleged that her ex-husband accepted illegal funds from recognized drug traffickers in the Caribbean coastal region. She claimed that after keeping some of the money, her ex-husband redirected the remainder to his father’s political campaign.

Following his arrest, Nicolas Petro admitted, according to prosecutors, that he received money from former drug trafficker Samuel Santander Lopesierra, known as “the Marlboro man,” and Gabriel Hilsaca Acosta, son of controversial businessman Alfonso “Turco” Hilsaca.

Initially, Nicolas Petro, the prime suspect in the case, declared his intention to cooperate with the legal system. However, he later shifted his stance, accusing the prosecutors of exploiting him as a tool for political maneuvering against his father, Colombia’s president. Currently, Nicolas Petro remains at liberty, but the prosecution has signaled its intention to request pre-trial detention should further allegations of corruption emerge, specifically relating to his tenure as a regional deputy in the Atlántico region.

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