The former chief of police of Colombia’s capital Bogota is suspected of purchasing information from an alleged spy network that was dismantled in the south of the country, the prosecution said Monday.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez announced that retired Police General Humberto Guatibonza will be called for questioning after the clandestine spy operation allegedly run by former military and government officials was discovered.
Martinez retracted earlier claims that the former police chief is the owner of a security company tied to the alleged clandestine spy ring, but said that Guatibonza is believed to have obtained information through illegal wiretapping.
“The evidence that we have indicates that he could be part of the group of people who requested services to illegal wiretap centers,” the chief prosecutor said.
Should Guatibonza’s alleged links to the organization be proven, this could lead to further investigations into the Bogota Polie department.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, another suspected recipient of illegally obtained information is Camilo Romero, the progressive governor of the southwestern Nariño province.
But according to Ramiro, he has been the victim of illegal wiretapping and never requested any illegally obtained information.
“It is inconceivable to think that I could be involved in a subject of such depth and of such magnitude … it is not possible,” Romero told reporters.
According to the prosecution, the alleged spy network offered wiretapping services to both state agencies and the private sector, specifically the country’s oil industry.
One victim on the list of those wiretapped was Gustavo Basto, a lawyer from Villavicencio, who represents trade unionists in the oil industry, reported to El Tiempo.
“I do not know why my phone has appeared on the intercepted list. “I am an attorney who works with labor unionists of Ecopetrol contractors,” said Basto who was astonished that he been targeted.
One of his clients, Eliecer Alba, who works with multinational Nabors Drilling based in Bermuda and the United States too was victim.
“I have no idea why they would be interested in intercepting me. I know Mr. Basto, because he is the legal representative of an association of disabled people to which I belong and through which I and other colleagues sued the multinational oil company,” he explained.
In addition to Alba, two more of his companions from the Meta province, Alejandra Guerrero and Antonio Torres, also appeared on the list of those who had their communications hacked.
The hackers appeared to have targeted doctors as well with Richard Manuel Peña from Cali also listed as a victim, also to his surprise.
“I’m from Cali, although I’ve been living in Villavicencio for years, but I do not have anything illegal or pending processes to be on a list like that,” said the physician.
The prosecution hopes that my compiling a comprehensive list of victims, it will be able to paint a fuller picture of the motives behind Colombia’s latest wiretapping scandal.