Colombia’s former vice-president and current presidential hopeful for the 2014 elections, Francisco Santos, has been implicated in a land theft scandal that has already forced the resignation of the country’s ambassador to the US.
His name was listed as the owner of uncultivated farm and waste land in reports concerning Riopaila, a firm under criminal investigation for their alleged illegal appropriation of lands, opposition House Representative Wilson Arias told press.
Local media reported that Francisco has claimed that “all of the lands were acquired legally” and “were purchased with the UAF (United Agricultural Family) and fulfill all requirements of the law.”
Despite the former vice-presidents assurances, the case is connected with that of former Colombian ambassador to the United States, Carlos Urrutia, who was forced to hand in his resignation after it his previous law firm, Brigard & Urritia, was found to have helped multinationals illegally acquire stolen land in the Vichada area. Newspaper El Espectador reports that Senator Jorge Robledo now wants the discussion of land theft to focus on other companies, such as Riopaila..
This is not the only scandal that Francisco Santos is embroiled in. The senior politician is also investigated over his alleged connections with paramilitary leaders along. Three presidential hopefuls, all belonging to the Democratic Center party of former President Alvaro Uribe, are subject to similar investigations.
- Exvicepresidente Francisco Santos asegura que tierras en vichada se compraron legalmente (Radio Caracol)
- Relacionan a Francisco Santos con escándalo de baldíos en Vichada (Radio Caracol)
- Compra de baldíos, a debate político (El Espectador)