Colombia’s chief prosecutor is linked to yet another corruption scandal, this time the admitted bribery of a judge by one of his former clients, former Hyundai Colombia CEO Carlos Mattos.
According to senior journalist Daniel Coronell, a Bogota judge admitted to receiving $32 thousand (COP100 million) from one of Mattos’ emissaries after she ruled in favor of the Colombia CEO of the South Korean company.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez, who already is embroiled in the Odebrecht scandal, was Mattos’ defense attorney at the time, Coronell demonstrated.
The journalist stressed that it is possible that Colombia’s embattled chief prosecutor was not aware of the bribery, but that “what is certain is that Martinez also should provide explanations about this issue.”
Hours after the publication of Coronell’s editorial in Semana, the Prosecutor General’s Office sent out a press release in which it announced additional criminal charges against Mattos, who is already on trial for the alleged bribery of another judge amid a dispute with the Ecuadorean company that provides the Korean cars.
The prosecution did not confirm the reported involvement of the chief prosecutor in the admitted bribery that took place in 2015.
Judge Ligia del Carmen Hernandez admitted to receiving money from Mattos after ruling in favor of Martinez’ request to raid the offices of the Ecuadorean Eljuri Group with who Mattos had a legal dispute, according to Coronell.
The reputation of Martinez, one of Colombia’s most powerful corporate lawyers, has gradually gone down the drain after his implication in multiple corruption scandal he allegedly tried to cover up as chief prosecutor.
The first scandal emerged in mid-2017 when his hand-picked anti-corruption chief was arrested at the request of the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration. Prosecutor Luis Gustavo Moreno is currently in a US prison after admitting to facilitating bribes between congressmen and Supreme Court magistrates.
Months later, Martinez was embarrassed again when the US Department of Justice revealed that Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, the business partner of another one of Martinez’ clients, spent at least $27 million in bribes to secure the granting of a major infrastructure project.
As if that wasn’t enough, Martinez has also been accused of hiding real estate assets in Spain, where Mattos is currently residing, from Colombia’s tax agency.