Former paramilitary leader Freddy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” told a Bogota court that emerald czar Victor Carranza gave important economic support to the paramilitaries.
El Aleman told the Justice and Peace Tribunal that in the early years the AUC was sustained by regional farmers, stock-breeders and tradesmen and that later it was “powerfully financed by financial and logistic contributions of emerald trader Victor Carranza, a recognized member and sponsor of the paramilitaries of Henry Perez in Puerto Boyoca and later, in April 1997, of cofounder of the AUC alias ‘Clodomiro Agaz’.”
The information complemented recent testimony given by an ex-paramilitary, on the condition of anonymity, to the Justice and Peace Unit. The former member of paramilitary organization the Peasant Self-Defense Units of Meta and Vichada (ACMV) claimed that Carranza had provided emeralds to help finance his organization.
El Aleman was formerly close to Carlos Castaño, an AUC leader and founder of paramilitary group the Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Cordoba and Uraba. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2009 for the murder of a child, and has accepted responsibility for the deaths of 451 other people.
The emerald czar was investigated and jailed in the past for suspected paramilitary ties, but absolved of charges in 2008.
Spanish Judge Balthasar Garzon later called for Carranza’s extradition, but a lack of hard evidence led to the annulment of the case