The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, greets during a speech while a march "For peace, for life, for social justice" takes place today, in the Plaza de Bolivar, in Bogota, Colombia, 27 September 2023. EFE/ Carlos Ortega

Prosecutor’s office investigates possible irregular financing of Petro’s campaign

Bogotá, Oct 4 (EFE).- The Colombian Attorney General’s Office has already “advanced” an investigation into allegations of possible irregularities in the financing of Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s electoral campaign, and wants to have results before the end of the year, the institution said Wednesday.

(FILE) The new Attorney General of the Nation, Francisco Barbosa (r), speaks on Thursday in Bogota (Colombia). EFE/ Carlos Ortega
(FILE) The new Attorney General of the Nation, Francisco Barbosa (r), speaks on Thursday in Bogota (Colombia). EFE/ Carlos Ortega

At the end of September, an investigation by Noticias Caracol published some audios – intercepted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – that show that Sandra Navarro, wife of drug trafficker Juan Carlos López, provided logistical support and money to Petro’s presidential campaign in the Colombian department of Casanare (east).

“It is an investigation that I understand is going forward, and surely, in due time, we will present the results that I hope will be before the end of the year,” Attorney General Francisco Barbosa told reporters.

In one of the audios between Navarro and Sonia Bernal, a congressional candidate for the leftist coalition Pacto Histórico and now deputy director of Government, Territorial Management, and Anti-Trafficking of the Ministry of Interior, the women talk about a sum of money that the former would leave for the campaign in a place known as “Casa Petro” in Yopal, capital of Casanare.

The audios also show how the drug trafficker’s wife lent vehicles to transport former senator Gustavo Bolívar, who is now a candidate for mayor of Bogotá, the current vice president, Francia Márquez, and congresswoman Katherine Miranda to campaign events in Casanare.

The investigation also reveals that Navarro collaborated with Petro’s campaign in Casanare for at least six months, during which he even showed annoyance for the amount of favors he was asked.

The president’s son

The case adds to the one that led to the arrest of the president’s eldest son, Nicolás Petro Burgos, accused of money laundering and illicit enrichment of a public servant for allegedly receiving illegal money for his father’s campaign.

In a video revealed a few days ago of the interrogation made by the Prosecutor’s Office to Petro Burgos, the first-born says that his father did know about the alleged irregular money that entered the 2022 campaign.

However, the defense lawyer says the testimony was obtained under duress and has withdrawn his willingness to collaborate with justice.

In that sense, the attorney general corroborated that there is no collaboration document in force and that to his office, “no request for any possible principle of opportunity for Mr. Petro Burgos has arrived. As soon as a decision is made, the country will be informed immediately”.

The Prosecutor’s Office filed before the Accusations Committee of the House of Representatives several documents so that this body -the only one that could investigate Petro- could proceed with the case, in an act that the president assured was a blow against the Constitution and democracy.

“What there is beyond an idea, an attack to the Constitution or as it was pointed out, a blow to the Constitution (…) is an unrestricted respect to the Constitution by the prosecutors who have within the framework of their competences a constitutional duty to do so”, said Barbosa, who defended that the Prosecutor’s Office.

He explained that his office has acted as it should, since it does not have the competence to investigate the president and it has taken the documents to the corresponding entity. EFE