The Colombian Prosecutor General’s office will open a pre-investigation into allegations by former police major, Juan Carlos Meneses that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe‘s brother led a paramilitary “death squad” known as “the Twelve Apostles” in the 1990s.
Prosecutors plan to take a statment from Meneses, who told the Washington Post last week that Santiago Uribe had “led a fearsome paramilitary group” in the 1990s in Yarumal, where the Uribe family owns property.
Santiago Uribe sent a letter to the U.S. newspaper vehemently denying any involvement, stating that the same accusations had been “archived by the Prosecutor General of the nation of Colombia, following the dismissal of two investigations on May 8, 1996 and February 29, 2000, respectively.”
Colombian ambassador to the U.S., Carolina Barco, also sent a letter to the Post, calling the article “biased” and “without basis.”
Colombian Defense Minister, Gabriel Silva called the accusations a Venezuelan plan to discredit the Colombian head of state.
“What this amounts to is an assault on President Uribe and his brother… All these accusations against the president have come from Venezuela,” Silva said.
Earlier this week the Prosecutor General’s office said it would investigate allegations by retired Colonel Pedro Manuel Benavides of a plot to implicate President Uribe’s brother in dealings with the Antioquian paramilitaries.
Meneses integrity has been called into question with, following revelations that he was investigated for “irregularities” during his time in the Colombian police force. There are also allegations he is linked to a criminal organization that attempted to bribe Benavides to sully the Uribes’ name.