Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Colombia jails former General Santoyo on money laundering allegations

-

Colombian prosecutors said on Tuesday that former General Mauricio Santoyo was put in jail while they investigate him for money laundering and illicit financial and criminal activity that connect him to a notorious far-right paramilitary and narco-trafficking group.

Santoyo, who served as the Head of Security for ex-President Álvaro Uribe, had been extradited to the US and was incarcerated for eight years after he was found to have been connected to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC, which it designated as a terrorist organization. He now faces additional charges as new allegations emerge after being repatriated last year.

Martha Soto, the director of the Investigative Unit of El Tiempo, a prominent Colombian newspaper that broke the story of Santoyo’s U.S. indictment in 2012, explained to OCCRP that the US case – where he was found to have received bribes in exchange for helping traffic large shipments of drugs into the U.S. – ultimately led Colombian authorities to investigate it themselves years later.

Prosecutors now allege that Santoyo was paid roughly US$833,000 by “La Oficina (The Office)” – originally founded as an enforcement and collection entity of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel – and members of the AUC to release members of its organization and provide intel on the operations of Colombian security forces.

- Advertisement -

“[According to allegations] Santoyo delivered classified and intelligence information to the high command of the AUC and to the ‘office’ about the investigations on cartels and activities of various mafia groups carried out by Colombian authorities that were working with the United States and England,” Soto told OCCRP.

Upon returning to Colombia last year, Santoyo was also investigated for being involved in the disappearance of members of Asfaddes, a civil advocacy group that represents the families of people who have been detained or gone missing, and for allegedly aiding in the cover-up of a murder of a journalist.

This is not the first member of the Uribe administration who was found to have been connected to the AUC – a number of aides, including his cousin, were found guilty of having ties to the paramilitary group.

Uribe, who served as president from 2002 to 2010, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2009 – the highest civilian award – for his effort in defending democracy and human rights, has warded off investigations into the possibility that he may have been connected to the AUC as well.

- Advertisement -

The ex-President is currently under investigation for his alleged link to several massacres committed by paramilitaries while serving as a governor of Antioquia, and is also being probed for allegedly bribing and threatening ex-paramilitaries into making false accusations about a political opponent.

His brother, who has been under arrest since 2016, is also being investigated for his links to a paramilitary group.

In response to a criminal probe that was opened by Colombia’s attorney general’s office in 2013 that investigated the former president’s alleged links to the AUC, he said that these accusations were baseless, and were likely “criminal vengeance” by imprisoned drug-dealing paramilitaries.

Soto told OCCRP that the Santoyo case does not necessarily incriminate the entire Uribe administration, but that this recent development may serve as just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the criminal investigations that might indict high-ranking officials for their links to the AUC.

“Several extradited paramilitary chiefs, such as Salvatore Mancuso, have handed over to the United States justice system, lists, still unpublished in Colombia, about links with officials from both the Army and the Police who will have to be investigated,” Soto said.

MUST READ

Nigerian court declines to issue international arrest warrant for fugitive ex-Petroleum Minister in corruption case

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, refused an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an arrest...

South Korea’s former Vice Justice Minister sentenced to jail for bribery and sexual favors

Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui, the figure at the center of one of Korea’s biggest political sex scandals, was placed under pretrial detention...

Beam Suntory Inc. fined $19.6 million in foreign bribery case

Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam), a Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to...

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

UK regulators fine Goldman Sachs £97 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs International has been fined £96.6m by UK regulators for risk management failures connected to the 1MDB scandal. The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential...

Mid-Small financial institutions to benefit from Oracle’s Anti-money laundering protection

Oracle today announced new cloud services to help mid-sized banks combat money laundering and outsmart financial crime. Oracle Financial Crime and Compliance Management Cloud Service brings...

Brother of ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif jailed for money laundering

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif was sent to jail on Tuesday in a money laundering...

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks