The suspect arrested in Colombia’s most recent wiretapping scandal allegedly met with high ranking police officials numerous times before he was detained by authorities May, El Tiempo national newspaper reported on Thursday.
Former Bogota Police commander, Gen. Luis Eduardo Martinez, and the director of Police Intelligence, Col. Jorge Luis Vargas, will appear before the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) to explain their alleged connection to Andres Sepulveda, a hacker who was caught spying on the Colombian government’s peace negotiations with the rebel group FARC.
Sepulveda was arrested on May 6 after agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in northern Bogota, where they discovered surveillance equipment used to intercept electronic communications.
The suspect was allegedly in possession of classified military intelligence including information about the government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the FARC guerrilla group in Cuba, and lists of demobilized guerrilla combatants.
Soon after Sepulveda’s arrest, it was discovered that he had recently been employed by the campaign of presidential candidate, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, to assist with “information security.”
Alleged ties to police
According to the PGO, both officials, as well as two uniformed police officers, appeared in a video with Sepulveda which shows the two parties engaging in a financial transaction for data.
Prosecutors believe, according to El Tiempo, that police officials provided Sepulveda with illegally obtained information regarding the country’s police and military forces, as well as the PGO.
During an interrogation following Sepulveda’s capture in early May, the suspect revealed the names of numerous police officials with whom he allegedly worked on investigations.
Sepulveda alleged that he worked with the police to dismantle gangs in Bogota, and that he helped infiltrate the Facebook page of the FARC spokesman, Hermes Aguilar, obtaining information which he eventually passed on to the Police Intelligence agency.
Sources within the PGO told El Tiempo that the officers implicated in the case will have to address if they knew Sepulveda, if they knew what activities the hacker participated in, and whether hacker participated in official police investigations.
The Zuluaga Connection
A video obtained in mid-May by news magazine Semana showed that Presidential candidate for the Democratic Center, Zuluaga, was closer to the hacker than originally revealed. The video showed Zuluaga and his campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, who was dismissed after ties to Zepulveda, meeting with the hacker.
Audio from the video revealed the conversation between Hoyos, Sepulveda and Zuluaga discussing the hacking program. Hoyos reads and discuss a report on specific movements in the networks of campaigns and political figures.
Neither Zuluaga nor Hoyos display any surprise that they have access to this confidential information.
Colombian media reported on Wednesday that new evidence suggests that Sepulveda’s wiretapping operation was much more extensive than originally suspected.
After having been released on Monday and rearrested on Tuesday, Sepulveda was slammed with new charges brought before the Prosecutor General’s Office which included, aggravated conspiracy, aggravated abusive access to a computer system, using malicious software, violation of personal information, and espionage.
The prosecution exhibited evidence at Wednesday’s hearing indicating that Sepulveda worked with others to infiltrate a number of Colombian national databases and had the “objective” of infiltrating the computer systems of Central American governments as well, including Nicaragua.
According to a delegate from the CTI, Sepulveda collaborated with Ecuadorian Daniel Bajaña and Spaniard Rafael Revert — now principal witnesses in the case — to illegally enter databases of the National Police, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the Operating Committee Laying Down Arms (CODA).
- Sepúlveda fue al menos cuatro veces a la Dirección de la Policía (El Tiempo)
- CTI recapturó a Andrés Sepúlveda Ardila por orden de un juez de la República (Prosecutor General’s Office)