A former paramilitary chief testified before court Tuesday that he was bribed to smear the Supreme Court judge in charge of investigating ties between politicians and paramilitary organization AUC.
Ex-paramilitary chief Jose Orlando Moncada, alias “Tasmania,” claims he was offered 400 million pesos, a new house and prison benefits to falsely testify that judge Ivan Velasquez bribed him to accuse then president Alvaro Uribe of ordering the murder of Antioquian paramilitary boss “Rene”.
According to Tasmania’s testimony in a hearing against Sergio Gonzalez, the lawyer passed him a document stating Velasquez wanted to smear Uribe, which formed the basis of his attacks on the Supreme Court judge. He was then offered the money, house and benefits, including a better location in prison, access to a television and telephone and family visits.
Gonzalez and extradited drug trafficker “El Tuso” told Tasmania it was to be a “favor for some friends,” mentioning the ex-president Alvaro Uribe’s cousin Mario and brother Santiago. Tasmania later received a letter, supposedly from the imprisoned former senator Mario and Santiago, who stands accused of leading a paramilitary group, congratulating him and encouraging him to stick to his story.
The jailed paramilitary now claims that when he met with judges Ivan Velasquez and Adriana Camargo, he was questioned over his links to Mario Uribe and El Tuso but was offered nothing in return. Since changing his testimony, Tasmania says he has lost all of his benefits.
Velasquez was appointed by the Supreme Court as the main investigator of politicians with ties to military death squads and frequently clashed with Uribe over the investigations. Following the investigations, Mario Uribe was sent to prison because of his ties to El Tuso, while Santiago is under investigation for his alleged paramilitary ties.