Colombia’s chief prosecutor is hiding assets worth millions of dollars from his country’s tax office, local media reported Tuesday.
News website La Nueva Prensa reported published an investigation alleging that Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez is evading taxes by hiding his Spanish assets from tax office DIAN through a Panamanian law firm and a number of front companies in the Virgin Islands.
According to the newspaper, Martinez is hiding Spanish bank accounts and real estate property with a value of at least $3 million.
Martinez’ alleged luxury apartment in Madrid
The latest scandal further sinks the credibility of the chief prosecutor, who is already under fire over of his role in the Odebrecht bribery scandal and the extradition of his anti-corruption chief to the United States.
Martinez initially failed to respond to questions by La Nueva Prensa, according to the newspaper’s editor-in-chief and one of Colombia’s most senior journalists, Gonzalo Guillen.
Hours after the publication of the investigation, the chief prosecutor did respond, and blamed his press chief for failing to inform him about La Nueva Prensa’s requests, Guillen said in an editorial.
Forced by international public opinion, Martinez Neira sent me a letter using the Prosecutor General’s Office letterhead to refer to his strictly personal matters. I don’t know what crime that is, but it’s an abuse of authority, at least.
Gonzalo Guillen via La Nueva Prensa
The latest fraud allegation also revives suspicions about Martinez’ role in the scandal surrounding Odebrecht, the Brazilian engineering firm that spent millions in bribes in Colombia while Martinez’ was the judicial adviser of the company’s Colombian subsidiary.
One of the Panamanian companies allegedly used to hide Martinez’ assets is reportedly investigated for its involvement in the Odebrecht scandal.
Anonymous sources told La Nueva Prensa that Martinez, one of Colombia’s most powerful business lawyers, also owns real estate property in Paris and New York City.