A Colombian tax official was denied bail Monday as she awaits trial for her alleged part in an embezzlement scheme that diverted billions of dollars in public funds.
A judge ruled that Luz Adrianna Matamba would be transferred to El Buen Pastor Prison in Bogota for the duration of her trial. Matamba has been accused of participating in the DIAN tax scandal, a scheme that funneled at least $2 billion in taxes into dummy corporations through false tax refunds. DIAN is Colombia’s tax collection agency.
Matamba is believed to have been particularly close to Blanca Bercera, the alleged mastermind of the corruption scandal who has already pleaded guilty to two of the charges against her. Matamba is charged with conspiracy, document falsification, procedural fraud, false exports, embezzlement, money laundering, and illicit enrichment. She has contested all charges against her.
Estimates for the amount of money stolen in the scandal vary widely, from $4.6 billion every year for five years to $2 billion total.
So far, 14 tax officials have been charged in connection with the scandal.