Colombia’s prosecution arrested a former intelligence chief on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in a corporate spying scandal.
The former Intelligence director of now-defunct intelligence agency DAS, Laude Jose Fernandez, was arrested when he appeared at the Prosecutor General’s office to testify.
Fernandez was charged with aggravated conspiracy and the unlawful use of personal data because of his alleged role in an illegal corporate spying ring allegedly made up of multiple former security officials.
Airliner Avianca allegedly hired Fernandez and his network of retired army and police officers in 2017 to spy on union leaders of the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC) during a pilot strike.
Colombia’s prosecution have already prosecuted other former officials connected to this scandal.
One of the prosecution’s own wiretap coordinators, Luis Carlos Gomez, was sentenced to eight years in prison last month after he plead guilty to procedural fraud, illegal wiretapping, and forgery.
Gomez testified that he performed the wiretaps under direct orders of Fernandez.
The former intelligence chief, however, never wanted to tell who hired him to spy on the pilots.
Fernandez’ former employer, the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), was dismantled by former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2011 after a swath of scandals that included political killings and the spying on the Supreme Court at the order of the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe (2002 – 2010).
The Avianca spying scandal is just one of multiple that have been reported in Colombia since the dismantling of the DAS.
Multiple media reports indicate that the authorities are having trouble to prevent their wiretapping facilities from being used for illegal purposes either by corrupt officials or third parties.