The recent arrest of Colombia’s anti-corruption chief seems part of an unprecedented corruption scandal implicating three former Supreme Court presidents, two former senators and one former governor.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) surrendered evidence indicating that former Supreme Court President Leonidas Bustos had been seeking bribes in Miami.
Bustos reportedly is the political patron of Colombia’s former top anti-corruption prosecutor, Gustavo Moreno, who was arrested in June after allegedly demanding bribes from a former governor who had become a DEA informant.
The former Supreme Court president and his business partner, Leonardo Pinilla, allegedly demanded a million dollars from the former governor of the Cordoba province, Alejandro Lyons, to secure a favorable ruling in Lyon’s own corruption case.
With the help of two other former Supreme Court president, Francisco Ricaurte and Camilo Tarquino, the top judicial official allegedly said he had already been able to arrange the dropping of charges against presidential candidate Luis Alfredo Ramos (Conservative Party), former Senate President Hernan Andrade (Conservative Party) and former Senator Musa Besayle (U Party).
To further discredit Colombia’s highest court, Bustos allegedly claimed the Supreme Court managed a fee between $350,000 and $1 million to rule in favor of whoever had the money to bribe them.
The alleged claim ended up on DEA recordings, El Tiempo reported.
After receiving the recordings, Prosecutor General Humberto Martinez on Tuesday opened criminal investigations into the three former justices, kicking off one yet another unprecedented corruption case.
Also the three former senators who had allegedly bribed the court will be investigated for corruption.
The United States earlier this year announced it would step up its cooperation with Colombian authorities in trying to curb corruption in Colombia.