Extradited paramilitary leader “Macaco” testified that people close to former President Alvaro Uribe conspired to falsely accuse the Supreme Court of having accepted a paramilitary bribe.
Newspaper El Tiempo was given access to the audio of the testimony before members of Congress’ Accusations Commission who are investigating the alleged bribery of the country’s highest court to elect former Prosecutor General Mario Iguaran.
According to Macaco, whose real name is Carlos Mario Jimenez, the alleged $2.8 million bribe was made up by people “close to the presidential palace” in order to discredit the court.
The conspiracy was proposed to the AUC leaders by attorney Sergio Gonzalez, said Macaco.
The attorney is already in jail for a previous conspiracy in which a member of the AUC falsely accused a Supreme Court magistrate of forcing him to incriminate Uribe in relation to a massacre.
Macaco told the investigators that Gonzales visited him in his jail cell in 2008 and told him that if he would accuse the court he would not be extradited to the United States.
“When they moved me to [the] Combita [prison] they began coordinating the project of “Tasmania” against the court, a project that was orchestrated by [Alvaro Uribe’s cousin] Mario Uribe, [the former president’s brother] Santiago Uribe, [former presidential adviser] Jose Obdulio [Gaviria], [former legal secretary] Edmundo del Castillo and the other adviser, [former chief of staff] Bernardo Moreno, who wanted to emphasize in clearing Mario Uribe,” who was then investigated and later convicted for his ties to paramilitary leaders.
According to Macaco, he was extradited a few days after Gonzales’ last visit.
In a response, Gaviria denied having taken part in the alleged conspiracy and told the newspaper that Macaco and others who accused the former administration “are creating false positives using lies of criminals,” adding that Colombia’s current justice department is “criminal.”
Uribe did not respond, but Moreno’s attorney Jaime Granados, told El Tiempo that “in the past several people who were extradited by the government of Alvaro Uribe have tried to take revenge in different ways.”
Macaco’s testimony added to increasing judicial pressure on Uribe and members of the former administration. Uribe’s former spy chief was convicted for his ties to the AUC and for ordering the killing of labor unionists, while a former minister and Moreno are in jail awaiting trial respectively over an embezzlement scandal and the illegal wiretapping of government critics and the Supreme Court. A second former spy chief and the former coordinator of the demobilization process with the AUC fled the country before criminal charges were brought over the wiretap scandal and the staged demobilization of a FARC front.
Uribe himself is being investigated by Congress over his alleged masterminding of the illegal wiretapping.