‘Former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has distanced himself from his long-time political prodigy and former presidential candidate amid accusations he accepted bribes from Brazilian firm Odebrecht.
Zuluaga, the 2014 presidential candidate for Uribe’s Democratic Center pary has reportedly been accused of having received $1.6 million in campaign contributions from the corrupt Brazilian engineering firm.
The bribery scandal around the approximately $11 million in bribes has already led to the arrest of the former vice-minister of transport and allegations $1 million entered the successful 2014 presidential campaign of President Juan Manuel Santos.
Uribe has staunchly defended others close to him already implicated in the scandal, but has now called on his Democratic Center party to investigate Zuluaga’s alleged involvement in the corruption.
While calling for an investigation into Zuluaga’s alleged involvement, Uribe came to the defense of Democratic Center senator Ivan Duque, who is accused of having joined Zuluaga and his campaign director, Daniel Garcia, on a trip to Brazil to meet with Odebrecht officials in February 2014, during that year’s presidential campaign.
“It seems very unfair to me that a young man like Duque, who is very important for the Colombian democracy and for our party, will be unfairly affected [by this],” Uribe told Caracol Radio.
“Ivan Duque did nothing wrong, he is a person of ethical and moral values, an uncontaminated, highly qualified young man,” he added.
Duque is another candidate for the Democratic Center’s 2018 presidential nomination, and is believed by many to be Uribe’s new political favorite.
The uncovered corruption, which includes an alleged $11.1 million in bribes in Colombia to win the two public works contracts for Section Two of the Ruta del Sol, and the Ocaña-Gamarra highways, has already implicated Uribe’s two sons, as well as former Agriculture Minister, Andres Felipe Arias, often referred to as “Little Uribe” due to his close relationship with the ex-president.