Bernardo Moreno, chief of staff under former President Alvaro Uribe, on Monday announced that he would attend a court hearing where he will be charged with involvement in illegal wiretapping of government critics.
In a press statement sent to Colombian media, Moreno said he will “abide, as I have always have, by the request made to me by justice to respond for my behavior.”
The former chief of staff added he “looks forward to the opportunity to prove the absolute transparency of my actions before the court and the community.”
Moreno slammed Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office for announcing the charges “through the media – as I have not been formally notified.” According to the former chief of staff, the PG’s Office has “constantly and illegally” been leaking “manipulated and deceitful information to the media,” not giving him the possibility to defend himself.
Echoing Uribe, Moreno alleged that the court case was political and said he hoped for a “fair and guaranteed trial.”
“It is my hope that the judges of our country show the international community that in Colombia there do exist guarantees for the accused and, in that sense, hear me and not condemn me before being heard,” the former official said.
Moreno is to stand trial because former top intelligence agents said they reported to him about the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court judges, journalists, human rights workers and politicians.
His statement comes amid controversy about the political asylum granted by Panama to former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who is suspect in the same scandal. According to weekly magazine Semana, Panamanian sources said Moreno was also on the list of former Colombian officials trying to leave the country before facing the court they had allegedly ordered surveillance on.