Luis Carlos Restrepo, the former Colombian peace commissioner accused of staged a fake FARC demobilization, has been charged with contempt of court for fleeing the country.
Restrepo, who was facing charges of consipracy, embezzlement by appropriation, fraud, trafficking and possession of weapons, left Colombian on a plane bound for the United States on January 8.
A Bogota judge officially charged Restrepo Thursday and said he would be charged in absentia. The former official is alleged to have plotted with imprisoned FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña” and a drug trafficker to pay homeless and unemployed people in the central Tolima department $278 each to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, then surrender to security forces.
The judge deferred the cases of four other people implicated in the case — Alberto Rojas Yepes and Hugo Castellano, and the two brothers of Olivo Saldaña, Marta Rocio Agudelo and Alvaro Agudelo.
Restrepo is the second high-profile former official from the 2002-2010 administration of Alvaro Uribe to choose exile over the Colombian justice system.
Former head of Colombia’s DAS Intelligence Agency Maria Pilar Hurtado is currently in Panama, avoiding being charged for involvement in illegal wiretapping, where an appeal for her extradition was last week rejected.
Restrepo is one of many public servants from Uribe’s controversial tenure now facing various accusations of corruption and malpractice, including Uribe’s brother Santiago, who is accused of paramilitary links and plotting to discredit the Supreme Court.