Nicolas Petro Burgos and his then-wife, Daysuris Vasquez, attend the inauguration of his father, Gustavo Petro, as president of Colombia on 7 August 2022. EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

Colombia president’s son turns gov’t witness in corruption probe

Bogota, Aug 1 (EFE).- Nicolas Petro Burgos, son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, agreed Tuesday to cooperate with the prosecutors who charged him with money laundering and illicit enrichment.

A screen grab from the video feed of a court hearing in Bogota where Nicolas Petro Burgos (L), son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and ex-wife Daysuris Vasquez were arraigned on charges of money laundering. EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

“I want to announce to Colombia that we have decided to initiate a process of collaboration where I will talk about new events and situations that will assist justice. I do it for my family and for my baby who is on the way,” he said at his arraignment in Bogota.

Petro Burgos, 37, was detained last Saturday in Barranquilla, capital of Atlantico province, where he is a member of the legislature.

Also taken into custody was his ex-wife, Daysuris Vasquez, who months ago accused her former spouse of pocketing a substantial amount of money that was intended as a contribution to his father’s presidential campaign.

The decision was reached by Petro Burgos and his attorneys during the lunch break of Tuesday’s hearing.

Vasquez, accused of money laundering, had already signaled her willingness to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Lead prosecutor Mario Burgos confirmed the cooperation agreements and asked the court to approve additional security measures for both defendants and their lawyers.

“Nicolas Fernando Petro Burgos, accompanied by his legal team, approached the Attorney General’s Office to report some new acts of corruption, denounce some new individuals who are immersed in those acts of corruption, of which he has exclusive knowledge,” the prosecutor said.

Petro Burgos is due back in court on Thursday.

“As a person and a father I am greatly pained,” Gustavo Petro said Saturday following the arrests of his son and former daughter-in-law. “As president of the republic I vow that the AG Office has every guarantee on my part to proceed in accord with the law.”

The AG Office announced on March 21 that it was investigating Petro Burgos.

The probe was launched weeks after Vasquez said in an interview with newsweekly Semana that her ex-husband had accepted more than 600 million pesos ($153,000) from reputed drug trafficker Samuel Santander Lopesierra, alias “the Marlboro Man,” that was intended as a contribution to Gustavo’s presidential campaign.

“He (Nicolas) kept that money” as well as a $51,000 contribution from controversial businessman Alfonso “El Turco” Hilsaca, Vasquez said.

EFE joc/dr