A guarantee judge legalized on Sunday the detention of the son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, Nicolás Petro Burgos, and his ex-wife Daysuri Vásquez Castro, after they were arrested on Saturday by prosecutors for money laundering and illicit enrichment.
After a nine-hour session, it was announced that the hearing for the imputation of charges will take place next Tuesday, August 1. The criminal judge 74 with the function of guarantee control of Bogotá declared the session as reserved.
The Prosecutor’s Office will file charges against Petro Burgos for the crimes of money laundering and illicit enrichment, while Vásquez Castro will face charges for money laundering and violation of personal data. In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office will request security measures.
The case represents a severe blow to the leftist government of Gustavo Petro, as it is the preceding in the country’s history that the son of an acting president is arrested and accused of receiving illegal campaign funds, which has led to the opposition to requesting an investigation into the president.
During Sunday’s hearing, the judge also legalized the seizure of probative material elements.
As part of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office collected countless conversations that were on the cell phone of Petro Burgos’s ex-wife, which would appear as evidence of the accusation.
The case stems from statements by Vásquez Castro at the beginning of March to Semana magazine, in which he mentioned that the president’s son would have received illegal resources to finance his father’s presidential campaign, but would have kept them to invest them. in a house.
According to Vásquez Castro, her ex-husband had received about 600 million pesos ($125,000) from Samuel Santander Lopesierra, known in Colombia as the “Marlboro Man,” and about 400 million pesos ($83,000) from Alfonso “El Turco.” hilsaca.
Lopesierra was convicted of drug trafficking and extradited to the United States, while Hilsaca is pending a judicial decision for alleged homicide and criminal association.
Nicolás Petro, 37 years old and a lawyer by profession, denied his ex-wife’s accusations and made himself available to the authorities to advance the investigations. He was married to Vásquez from 2019 to 2022.
Former prosecutor Alfonso Gómez explained to AP that those involved face a sentence of between 15 and 20 years in prison, but clarified that it will depend on how the process unfolds.
Gómez did not rule out the possibility that Vásquez, who went from being a complainant to a defendant, could reach an agreement that allows “the release of sentences on the condition that the whole truth is told.”
President Petro acknowledged on Saturday that, as a person and a father, his son’s situation hurts, but in his capacity as President of the Republic, he assured that the prosecution will have all the guarantees to proceed in accordance with the law.
“As I stated before the attorney general, I will not intervene or pressure his decisions; Let the law freely guide the process,” Petro declared on the X social network, formerly known as Twitter. The president wished his son “luck and strength” and hoped “that these events forge his character and he can reflect on his own mistakes.”
The arrest of the president’s son sparked various reactions.
The government team and the vice president, Francia Márquez, closed ranks in support of the head of state, exalting his position of non-intervention, while the ruling party Pacto Histórico asked the Prosecutor’s Office and the judges to comply with procedural guarantees and impartiality. in the process.
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