Colombian president’s son indicted on charges of money laundering

Colombian president’s son indicted on charges of money laundering
Colombian president’s son indicted on charges of money laundering

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Grab taken from a handout video released by Colombia's Superior Council of the Judiciary, showing Nicolas Petro, son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, attending a court hearing in Bogota on July 30, 2023. — Consejo Superior de la Judicatura / AFP pic

BOGOTA, Jan 12 — Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s eldest son was indicted Thursday on charges of money laundering involving funds from a drug lord that allegedly went to the president’s election campaign.

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The trial of Nicolas Petro, 37, will begin April 29, prosecutor Mario Burgos said after a court hearing.

The case stems from claims by the younger Petro’s ex-wife that he accepted a large amount of money from a man named Samuel Santander Lopesierra, who is serving time in the United States for cocaine trafficking.

Prosecutors say Nicolas Petro, who was arrested last July, received the equivalent of US$102,000 from Santander Lopesierra. Some of it went into the 2022 campaign of the elder Petro and the son used the rest to pay for an opulent lifestyle, these prosecutors say.

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The president has denied that he won the election with the help of drug money. He is Colombia’s first leftist president.

Nicolas Petro had initially said he would collaborate with prosecutors but then backtracked and denied all the charges against him.

The younger Petro was a legislator from Atlantico department, and helped his father gain support in the Caribbean region, historically opposed to leftist politicians.

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Nicolas Petro’s lawyers tried in vain Thursday to have the charges dropped.

He has denied his father knew of shady money going into his election campaign.

Prosecutors say that as he enjoyed a life of luxury Nicolas Castro bought himself a US$50,000 Mercedes-Benz, a stunning purchase given his salary as a lawmaker. — AFP

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