The defense attorney of the family of Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria has been on the city’s payroll while defending the mayor’s father in a case regarding alleged ties to a paramilitary group, reports said.
The payments to attorney Luis Alfonso Bravo have come from several government agencies and projects that are managed by the Gaviria’s administration.
PROFILE: Anibal Gaviria
According to Medellin blog Folio, Bravo has been paid increasing amounts of money through multiple government contracts since 2012. The website reported that the attorney received $17.5 thousand dollars in connection with the Metroparques theme parks in Medellin. In the same year he was also paid $54 thousand and $45 thousand for work connected to the General Secretariat of the Mayor’s Office and the urban development agency EDU respectively.
This was followed in 2013 with further payments of $18 thousand by Metroparques and a grand total of $66 thousand by the General Secretariat.
The lawyer has received the payments in monthly installments of $10.5 thousand per month, claimed the blog.
All of these contracts have been labeled as “advisory” but it is as yet unclear as to who exactly Bravo is supposed to be advising – due to the lawyer’s employment history with the Gaviria family, these payments have sparked suspicions among press and opposition politicians alike that the Mayor is using government funds to pay private legal fees.
Since 2003, Bravo has represented the mayor and family members in a multitude of private court cases.
For example, Bravo defended Gaviria’s victory in the 2003 governor of Antioquia elections after it was contested by opposing candidate Ruben Dario Quintero. The lawyer also represented both the mayor and his father, Guillermo Gaviria, following accusations that they had previously maintained connections with demobilized paramilitary group AUC.
As a matter of fact, he was paid for the first of these government contracts in 2012, the same year that Anibal’s father was placed under house arrest following the investigation into his AUC connections.
Not only has Bravo represented the Gaviria family in private matters, he is also the legal representative for convicted Medellin crime lord Alirio Rendon, alias “El Cebollero.” Newspaper El Tiempo revealed this in 2007 after an investigation into an alleged relationship between Anibal and Alirio.
While Gaviria has denied having any connections with “El Cebollero,” the now-jailed crime lord has told Colombian media that the two did have a working relationship. In 2007, Gaviria attempted to sell the state-owned Antioquia Liquor Factory to a liquor distribution company that was run by El Cebollero.
These occurrences not only raise serious questions as to how Luis Alfonso is getting paid but also as to who he is representing, possibly at the expense of local government.
The Mayor’s office failed to respond to questions regarding the apparent conflict of interests.
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- Detención domiciliaria contra Guillermo Gaviria Echeverri (Minuto 30)
- El abogado estrella de Aníbal Gaviria (Folio)
- Al cierre de sesiones, 9 concejales están en la oposición (El Colombiano)
- Sicarios enredan al zar del licor en Antioquia (El Tiempo)