Army commander Montoya denies paramilitary links

Retired army general and former diplomat Mario Montoya has denied any links to paramilitary groups during questioning at Colombia’s Supreme Court, Colombian media reported Thursday.

During the three-hour questioning session, Montoya said he has never had links to paramilitary groups. Furthermore he said that he never received $800,000 and produced documents which show his personal assets come from his military career.

The former ambassador to the Dominican Republic also said that in 2003 it was impossible that he had links with paramilitaries in the Eastern Plains because at that time he was moving between the northwest department of Antioquia and the Caribbean Coast

He added that the accusations are part of a smear campaign against him.

The retired general was summoned to answer to accusations that he had received over $800,000 and a house from late paramilitary boss Miguel Arroyave to pursue Arroyave’s rival, the paramilitary boss alias “Martin Llanos.”

The payment is said to have been made in cash in addition to a house valued at $435,000. Allegations of the payment come from Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias “Don Mario.”

In February 2010, Don Mario claimed he delived $250,000 from Arroyave, the former leader of the Centauros Bloc of the AUC, to the now retired general.

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