The scandal surrounding Colombia’s largest, failed brokerage firm intensified as the country’s Finance Minister on Wednesday announced a criminal investigation is underway.
Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas announced that the government will investigate whether InterBolsa is guilty of tax evasion, hiding information from the public and stock manipulation.
Cardenas told RCN local radio that he has ordered an investigation to determine whether the liquidated brokerage giant evaded taxes via the Curacao-based investment fund Premium Capital, which has joint shareholders with InterBolsa.
Colombia’s Comptroller also sent inspectors to audit the accounts of InterBolsa’s Bogota and Medellin branches to confirm whether or not the company mishandled more than $880 million of the public’s money.
InterBolsa President, Rodrigo Jaramillo, assured El Tiempo last weekend that there is no evidence to believe any “irregularities” or “conflict[s] of interest” have occurred.
However, Simon Gaviria, the leader of Colombia’s Liberal Party, on Tuesday said that “many of [InterBolsa’s actions] scratched the [surface] of criminal activity.” Gaviria specifically accused Jaramillo and InterBolsa’s largest shareholder, Victor Maldonado, of alleged conflicts of interest and breaches of public trust.
The Prosecutor General has called a press conference for Wednesday afternoon to formally announce the status of the impending investigation.
The financial meltdown of Colombia largest brokerage firm has been well documented, but until now there have been no charges or suggestions of criminal activity.
Financial regulators essentially shut down InterBolsa last week after the brokerage firm failed to make a payment on an $11 million loan.