Friday, April 23, 2021

Colombia’s former prosecutor accused of mediating bribes between politicians and magistrates

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Colombia’s former chief prosecutor played a key role in setting up the network that allowed corrupt politicians to bribe allegedly corrupt Supreme Court magistrates, according to one of these politicians.

Former Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez appointed a corrupt anti-corruption chief as part of a deal with allegedly corrupt former Supreme Court president Leonidas Bustos, according to jailed former Senator Musa Besaile.

Martinez’ extradited anti-corruption chief, Luis Gustavo Moreno, has admitted to mediating bribes between investigated politicians and corrupt magistrates.

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The so-called “Toga Cartel” was discovered in 2017 by the United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency, which worked closely with Martinez until his resignation in May last year.

In the trial against another former Supreme Court president, Francisco Ricaurte, Besaille swore that the former magistrate told him that Martinez appointed Moreno, because Bustos “put him there because of some deals they made.”

[su_quote]He said: “You know that Bustos put Gustavo Moreno here because of some deals they made[/su_quote]

According to Besaile, Ricaurte made the comment while the two were discussing how to keep the former senator’s sister-in-law, former Sinu University rector Mara Bechara, out of legal trouble.

Referring to the corrupt former prosecutor, Ricaurte said he also planned to “reserve this little piece for the JEP,” the war crimes tribunal currently trying members of the military, guerrillas and other alleged war criminals, according to Besaille.

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The JEP’s prosecution unit opened investigations against 40 of its own prosecutors last year after one of them was caught red-handed receiving money from a notoriously corrupt former senator.

The former senator’s testimony should worsen the headaches of Martinez, who already is accused of abusing his former position for his personal benefit, particularly in relation to the Odebrecht bribery scandal.

Besaile is in jail over his alleged ties to paramilitary groups and a number of corruption scandals. The JEP last week allowed the former senator to submit before the war crimes tribunal, which would allow him to evade decades in prison if he complies with obligations to tell the truth and repair his victims.

Martinez was one of the fiercest opponents of the war crimes tribunal until the JEP ordered investigations against him and the DEA for allegedly carrying out rogue criminal investigations and he had to resign.

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