Illegal funds that entered Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos‘ 2014 campaign were laundered by the brother of a former member of the now-defunct Cali Cartel, newspaper El Tiempo reported on Monday.
The newspaper cited an undisclosed Prosecutor General source or report claiming that former Congressmen Otto Bula (Liberal Party) used businessman Juan Fernando Ramon, the brother of former Cali Cartel member Carlos Ramon, to launder some of the alleged $4.6 million he received in bribes from Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht.
The president has already been called for questioning about $1 million of this money that entered Santos’ reelection campaign, according to the president’s former campaign manager.
According to El Tiempo, the prosecutor general report claimed that the Medellin merchant will explain his alleged role in moving the money from Odebrecht to the president’s campaign.
“Juan Fernando is going to make a sworn statement. He has already requested an appointment at the Public Prosecutor’s Office and will clarify his participation and, equally, that his brother, whom he has not seen for at least five years, has nothing to do with it,” a source close to Ramon told El Tiempo.
The Odebrecht bribery scandal kick-started by the US Department of Justice, is now implicating both Santos’ 2010 and 2014 campaigns and the 2014 campaign of opposition campaign Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of former President Alvaro Uribe‘s Democratic Center party.
Uribe’s former vice-minister of Transport is in jail also for allegedly giving the concession a major road infrastructure project called Ruta del Sol II to Odebrecht after receiving bribes.
The former Odebrecht Colombia director last week admitted to having bribed both the government and the opposition.
Odebrecht pleaded guilty in December in a US court for conspiring to violate a US foreign bribery law after an investigation involving political kickbacks at Brazil’s Petrobras unearthed the bribery scheme.
From 2001 to 2016, the engineering firm paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, according to the US charges.