On the 15th day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme court will hear former President Alvaro Uribe over the alleged fraud and bribery practices aimed at covering up his alleged paramilitary ties.
Uribe’s day in court is historic. Never before has a former president appeared before the Supreme Court to respond to criminal charges.
The suspect | Alvaro Uribe
The former president’s father has been accused by journalists and American intelligence agencies of being a drug trafficker and a good friend of Fabio Ochoa, the patriarch of the Ochoa crime family. An unconfirmed photo indicates he was also close to cartel founder “El Mexicano.”
The former president’s late brother Jaime had two children with Dolly Cifuentes, whose crime family ran important drug trafficking routes for decades, initially for Escobar and later more independently.
Uribe and his brother Santiago were also close to the Ochoa crime family, who also helped found the cartel.
Thirty-five years after the first evidence emerged of the Uribe family’s ties to the Medellin Cartel’s drug trafficking, the former president is now in court, ironically for entirely unrelated criminal allegations.
These allegations are related to Uribe’s efforts to hide his family’s alleged criminal activities when the former president was governor of Antioquia between 1995 and 1997.
The current criminal charges are not the only ones though. The former president is facing a total of 59 criminal charges, of which 14 are before the Supreme Court.
The charges | Fraud and bribery
The Supreme Court opened the current investigation against Uribe in February last year after it found evidence that Uribe allegedly committed fraud by filing witness tampering charges against Senator Ivan Cepeda based on the testimonies of witnesses he allegedly bribed.
The charges are among the least serious, but could still put him away for six to eight years, which is a long time when you’re 67 years old.
The allegedly fraudulent criminal charges were filed in 2012 and 2014 while Cepeda was investigating the Uribe family’s alleged role in the formation of the Bloque Metro.
The bribery charges relate to the alleged bribery of witnesses in these cases that were closed in February last year, but according to multiple press reports, the witness tampering continued while the court was investigating the former president.
None of these alleged crimes would have been committed if Uribe had decided not to file criminal charges against Cepeda.