Daniel “Don Mario” Rendon Herrera, who is collaborating with the authorities under the Peace and Justice Law, testified to prosecutors that his paramilitary group, the AUC, had collaborated with 26 political leaders in the departments of Meta and Casanare.
Don Mario alleges the paramilitary organization helped get the politicians elected to office in exchange for receiving between 5% – 10% of their municipal budgets, in addition to appointing three paramilitary members to their offices, reports El Espectador.
In the hearing, Don Mario reiterated previous allegations he had a made about attending a meeting with ex-congressman Luis Carlos Torres.
In the meeting, claims Don Mario, Torres tried to arrange for a $1,000,000 bribe to stop Euser Rondon from denouncing the corruption of the governor of Meta, Edilberto Castro. Later, Rondon was assassinated, and the courts found Governor Castro guilty, and sentenced him to 40 years for his involvement in the murder, and the murder of two other politicians.
Torres, who later became a Senator in Colombia, was also the governor of Meta, from 2001 – 2003.
Don Mario also accused former mayor candidate of Villavicencio, Hebert Balaguera, of receiving $100,000 from the AUC for his political campaign.
The former paramilitary leader is negotiating the terms of his extradition to the U.S. and cooperating with authorities in naming politicians involved in parapolitics.