Colombia’s prosecution charges Uribe with fraud and bribery

Colombia’s prosecution formally charged former President Alvaro Uribe with fraud and witness manipulation on Friday.

According to the prosecution, Uribe ordered associates to bribe witnesses in order to sabotage criminal investigations against the former President and his brother, Santiago Uribe.

These bribed witnesses allegedly also sustained fraudulent criminal charges against officials that led investigations against the Uribe family in Congress and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Uribe’s associates, National Electoral Council magistrate Alvaro Hernan Prada and attorney Diego Cadena, are also in court for their alleged participation in the criminal conspiracy.

Among those who attended Uribe’s first day in court were Senator Ivan Cepeda and former chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre.

Both Cepeda and Montealegre claim the former president bribed former members of paramilitary organization AUC and a former prosecutor to fabricate bogus witness tampering charges against them.

The conspiracy was allegedly discovered by the Supreme Court while investigating Uribe’s accusations against Cepeda in 2017 and 2018.

Why Uribe allegedly bribed witnesses

The criminal charges against the former president are the result of an alleged attempt to sabotage investigations into the alleged ties between the Uribe brothers and paramilitary group “Bloque Metro.”

Former members of this paramilitary group said that the former president and his brother helped former Medellin Cartel associates found the Bloque Metro in the Antioquia province in 1996.

Cepeda wrote a book about these allegations and Montealegre opened a criminal investigations into the Uribe family’s alleged ties to the paramilitaries.

Why Colombia’s former president is accused of forming bloodthirsty death squad

In response, Uribe’s associates allegedly tried to bribe two witnesses in the Bloque Metro investigation.

The former president allegedly continued bribing witnesses in an attempt to sabotage the Supreme Court investigation into witness tampering charges brought by the Supreme Court in 2018.

Why the case is dragging on

The Supreme Court ordered Uribe’s house arrest in 2020 while investigating his alleged fraud and witness tampering practices.

How Colombia’s Supreme Court found out Uribe allegedly bribed witnesses

Shortly after, the court ceded jurisdiction to the prosecution after the former president resigned from the Senate, effectively renouncing his congressional immunity.

Subordinates of former Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa, an outspoken Uribe ally, subsequently tried to drop the charges for years.

These attempts were thwarted by Uribe’s alleged victims in the case, who received the support of multiple judges.

The prosecution announced that it would call Uribe to trial after Prosecutor General Adriana Luz Camargo took office earlier this year.

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