Uribe’s son faces conflict of interest allegations

Former President Alvaro Uribe’s son Tomas allegedly attempted to bring Colombian company the Nule Group and a Brazilian construction firm together in a joint bid for a public works contract during his father’s presidency, reports El Nuevo Herald.

Miguel Nule of the Nule Group said that the young Uribe had acted as an intermediary during meetings between the two companies at the Brazilian multinational company Norberto Odebrecht’s Panama City headquarters.

Tomas Uribe refused to comment when asked by the Miami Herald whether his involvement in the proposed deal represented a conflict of interest.

Nule said that the meeting was also attended by his cousin Guido Nule, director of Norberto Odebrecht Panama Andre Rabello, and by a Panamanian government official named Juan Eslava.

Tomas Uribe had a friendly relationship with both Rabello and Eslava according to Miguel Nube.

The proposed joint venture never took place, but Norberto Odebrecht won a $1.2 billion contract, together with Colombian firms, to construct the planned Ruta del Sol highway, which will stretch 1000km and link Bogota to the Caribbean coast.

A spokesperson for Rabello said that Odebrecht’s Panamanian office does not handle issues related to Colombia and would not comment further.

A Panamanian reporter for La Prensa newspaper asked Alvaro Uribe during his visit to Panama about the meeting between his son and the two construction companies.

The former Colombian president was allegedly upset at the query and told the reporter not to “ask about the gossip of bandits,” and said that the activities of his family were clear and well known.

“My children never participate in the business dealings of the state,” said Uribe.

In late October Miguel Nube accused Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno of receiving payment for the fraudulent granting of public works contracts.

Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office opened an investigation into Moreno’s involvement, and a taped conversation obtained by newspaper El Tiempo provided proof that the mayor had been involved.

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