Colombian news outlet RCN Radio alleges that New York prosecutor Harold Baer attempted to bribe an extradited Colombian to testify that retired Colombian Navy Admiral Gabriel Arango Bacci was involved with paramilitaries and drug traffickers.
According to RCN Radio, Baer offered an unnamed extradited Colombian immediate liberty and $62,000 to return to Colombia, in exchange for his testimony against Bacci.
The unnamed Colombian allegedly responded that he did not know Bacci and then remained in a U.S. prison for another year and a half, before he was deported back to Colombia in February 2010, because he had been detained withour charge.
Last December 3rd the Colombian Supreme Court found Bacci innocent of ties to the paramilitary and drug traffickers, due to a lack of evidence, and ordered the Prosecutor General to investigate the alleged false testimony supplied by witnesses in the case.
According to RCN Radio, at least one other extradited Colombian was offered a deal if he testified against the former Admiral.
“I am terrified… I am almost positive that they [the U.S.] will request my extradition,’ Bacci told RCN Radio.
Bacci’s lawyer Jaime Granados Peña called RCN Radio’s accusations “extraordinary”.
“Frankly it is bizarre that money would be offered [to a witness] to testify, and even more so to involve an innocent person. This is a crime that should be investigated by the Federal Commission and I think that explanations need to be asked of the Justice Department as well as the U.S. Embassy on the matter,” Granados Peña said.
In 2008 a military tribunal found Bacci guilty of receiving $115,000 for selling the coordinates of Navy patrols to drug traffickers, so that the traffickers could avoid authorities and safely transit drugs out of Colombia. Bacci requested a civil hearing before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court reprimanded the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield in November for what they termed “undue interference” in the case, after Bronwfield announced that there was clear evidence that linked the retired Admiral to drug traffickers.
Bacci maintains his innocence and says he is the victim of a plot to discredit him.