Colombia’s former presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga was not just spying on ongoing peace talks with the FARC, but also on his rival within the party of former President Alvaro Uribe, one of the alleged spied reportedly testified during their trial.
New revelations have come from one of the accused during the trial pertaining to a scandal where involved campaign workers of opposition presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga admitting to wiretapping ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC during the 2014 Colombian presidential race.
Public television news Noticias Uno reported that Daniel Bajaña, a Ecuadorean who was jailed with a second Zuluaga campaign worker in May, said that he had been ordered to intercept communication of Francisco Santos, the cousin of President Juan Manuel Santos and Zuluaga’s opponent in primaries held earlier this year.
“I received the order to wiretap Francisco Santos on February 9” when Zuluaga and Santos were temporarily not on speaking terms as the losing primary candidate had questioned the fairness of the October primary election.
According to Bajaña, Zuluaga wasn’t the only one spying. Instead, he allegedly responded to suspicions that Santos was wiretapping his former opponent.
“Among the tasks I had to fulfill was the neutralizing of a hacker who had been hired by Fransisco Santos, because this guy knew of the activities of [Andres] Sepulveda” the campaign worker accused of having led illegal wiretap operations.
This hacker, identified as Andres Arturo Escobar, has appeared on photo and video material allegedly taken at the alleged wiretap office of the Zuluaga campaign.
According to magazine Semana, Escobar is a hardcore supporter of Uribe and used to work for Zuluaga, his running mate Carlos Holmes Trujillo and Democratic Center senator-elect Jose Obdulio Gaviria. The technician also used to work for Santos-loyal Senator Armando Benedetti, the magazine said.
The alleged spying practices within the political movement of Uribe, himself investigated over illegal wiretapping practices carried out by now-defunct spy agency DAS, were one of the major scandals that hit the news only weeks before the first round of elections.
The revelations forced the resignation of Zuluaga’s campaign manager.