The former security chief of Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe reportedly admitted to illegally receiving a double salary from the state, but continues to deny charges he worked with drug trafficking and paramilitaries.
Retired General Flavio Buitrago admitted to receiving a salary from the President’s Office and the Tax Office in an apparent attempt to avoid being brought to court for ties to the confessed drug lord Marco Antonio Gil, alias “El Papero,” and paramilitary Carlos Mario Jimenez, alias “Macaco,” newspaper El Tiempo reported.
While the former security chief continued to deny receiving money from illegal activities, the Prosecutor General remains convinced of Buitrago’s connection to drug trafficking and former paramilitary group AUC.
Buitrago claimed to have evaded taxes both during his post at the Colombian embassy in Washington D.C., and during his tenure as presidential security chief for Uribe.
While Buitrago says that he accrued money through laundering and receiving an illegal double salary, he is still unable to account for the full sum, exceeding $300,000. The Prosecutor General does not believe Buitrago’s claims, and noted that there is no record of Buitrago receiving a double salary.
Investigators say that the money Bruitrago moved from the US to Colombia “did not come from the savings account of their labor, but illegal activities such as extortion and drug trafficking,” and are related to former drug lord Marco Antonio Gil Garzon, alias “El Papero.”
Alleged ties to criminal world
According to a statement by Jaime Dib Mor Saab, a drug trafficker extradited to the US, the retired General Buitrago gave him $600,000, which came from former drug lord El Papero.
“They had a society that lent money to others,” stated Mor Saab.
Additionally, testimonies from three former paramilitaries, including former leader of now defunct paramilitary group Central Bolivar Bloc of the AUC, alias “Macaco,” accuse Braitrago of helping the illegal groups by giving them protection and intelligence, which supported criminals in committing their illegal activities.
“We collaborated on everything we needed, such as information, surveillance, interceptions, and retentions.”
AUC commander insists on links to disgraced official
Macaco has stated that Buitrago was on the payroll for the AUC, and that they worked together.
“We collaborated on everything we needed, such as information, surveillance, interceptions, retentions,” the former leader of AUC explained.
According to Macaco, Buitrago was paid over $8,000 per month to provide information, conduct surveillance and interceptions, as well as retain anyone who was an inconvenience.
When Buitrago went to trial in late August the Prosecutor General stated that there was “clear and convincing evidence showing an unwarranted increase in assets and the possible crime of money laundering,” El Espectador reported.
Buitrago has been detained since November, and is the second of Uribe’s security chiefs for alleged drug relations.
- La sorpresiva confesión de general que no lo salvó de ir a juicio (El Tiempo)
- General (r) Flavio Buitrago irá a juicio (El Espectador)