The fixer of Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe promised to “take all responsibility” for his attempts to seek defense witnesses, public television network Canal 1 reported Monday.
According to the transcript of a June 23 wiretap, the mafia lawyer told the president that “if there is a misinterpretation for reason X or Y, Diego Cadena will assume all responsibility.”
At the time of the call, both the former president and his fixer knew they were being wiretapped and that there was evidence indicating that the fixer was offering benefits to witnesses with the approval of Uribe.
President, I will tell you once more, you have always told me ‘Mr. Diego, I ask you the favor to be very cautious with this and to tell all people who give us testimonies to tell the truth. If there is a misinterpretation of this for motives X or Y, Diego Cadena will assume all responsibility.
Diego Cadena via Canal 1
After his first day in court last week, Uribe shifted the responsibility of the wiretapping to Cadena. On Sunday, the former president said “I don’t know about any bribes or fraud.”
Cadena left Colombia after the court hearing, but has told media from Miami he would continue cooperating with justice and said Uribe was unaware of his dealings with witnesses.
The wiretap confirms indications that Uribe’s legal defense and PR offensive strategies seek to shield the former president from the allegedly criminal practices carried out by the mafia lawyer.
Whether the strategy will work in court is anything but certain; in a previously leaked wiretap transcript Uribe told Cadena to “proceed” after the fixer talked about offering benefits to a key witness.
The Supreme Court case investigation has put the former president in unprecedented legal trouble that could end his decades-long political career.
The political patron of President Ivan Duque and leader of his party has been charged with fraud and bribery for criminal charges filed against an opposition senator in 2014 that were allegedly based on false testimonies of allegedly bribed witnesses.
The Supreme Court announced the criminal investigation in February last year after which Cadena contacted multiple other witnesses to confirm Uribe’s conspiracy theory that had been debunked by the court.
The criminal investigation is historic; no former president has ever appeared before the Supreme to respond to criminal charges.