The president’s son has taken a radical turn in his strategy to defend himself before justice. Nicolás Petro has stopped collaborating with the Prosecutor’s Office and will therefore go to trial for illicit enrichment and money laundering in a court in Barranquilla. “Today the fight of my life begins, I knew that the Barbosa Prosecutor’s Office was not trustworthy and today they showed it. They have pushed me to the limit with the sole intention of turning me into a weapon against my father. I decided to get up and not kneel before the executioner,” Nicolás has written with dramatic overtones in X.
Until now, the eldest of Gustavo Petro’s six children had reached an agreement in principle with the accusation, which meant de facto recognize the crimes with which he is accused, but suddenly he has changed tactics and has preferred to face a trial with an uncertain outcome. Nicolás’s problems in the courts have been a real headache for the president, who until now, after 30 years in politics, had not been affected by a corruption problem in his closest environment.
Nicolás is accused along with his wife, Day Vásquez, who until very recently was his wife. She was the one who made the alleged crimes public after Nicolás cut off her relationship to leave a year ago with her best friend, who just had a child. Vásquez showed the WhatsApp messages in which both plotted what to do with the money they received from businessmen whom they deceived by assuring them that these contributions would go to the campaign of their father, who after that process became the first president of Colombian leftist of the modern era. After the revelations, the Prosecutor’s Office went in ex officio and began to investigate the former couple, who during that time had bought a house and lived a high standard of living.
Upon learning that only Nicolás will go to trial, something that has been known for a statement made public by the Attorney General’s Office, it is also implied that Vásquez will continue to collaborate with the prosecution. The situation does not seem the most favorable for an accused. He will face the evidence presented by the other party involved in the process. Nicolás’s move is risky. On his day, he justified his collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office by assuring that he wanted to be a good father—unlike his father, who did not raise him—and that is why he wanted above all to be free or, at most, serve a sentence. home. Now that door is closed.
The president maintains a public confrontation with the attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, nominated for the position by the previous Government. Petro accuses him of being diligent with cases that affect him in one way or another, but carefree with cases relevant to the country, such as Odebrecht. Shortly, in February, Barbosa’s mandate will end and a prosecutor nominated by Petro must take his place. The president included in a shortlist the names of three women with extensive experience in Law, none of them known or friends. Barbosa was a university classmate of Petro’s predecessor, the right-wing Iván Duque, and, more than that, a personal friend. Senators like Iván Cepeda consider that Barbosa is taking advantage of his position to oppose the Government and thus start a political career.
For all this it seemed unnatural for Nicolás to collaborate with the Prosecutor’s Office. His father tried to visit him in August in the institution’s bunker, when he was detained, but he refused the meeting. The presidential motorcade had to turn around. That seemed like the breakup between a father and son who have had a difficult relationship. The president was in prison when he was born and when he was released he rebuilt his life with another partner and had other children. However, weeks later both met at the son’s house in Barranquilla, where, according to him, they talked about personal things.
The analysis of current events and the best stories from Colombia, every week in your mailbox
Nicolás Petro has left two lawyers behind. The first, Juan Trujillo, resigned due to “difference in criteria.” Trujillo later explained that he disagreed with his client’s collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office. He was replaced by the criminal David Teleki, who on September 1 also gave up defending Nicolás. He claimed “personal reasons” for it, but it was hard to believe. Nicolás Petro has been accused of having received large sums of money in 2022 from former drug trafficker Samuel Santander Lopesierra, known as The Marlboro Manand the contractor Alfonso The Turk Hilsaca, who allegedly has had links with paramilitary groups. Nicolás supposedly told them that this money was to finance his father’s presidential campaign, but the Prosecutor’s Office claims that he appropriated it to indulge in eccentric luxuries. Petro Burgos later said in an interview in Week that part of the money did reach the campaign, something that has not been proven.
After benefiting from the collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office, Nicolás was released, with the prohibition of leaving Barranquilla, the city where he lives. Furthermore, he cannot participate in any political activity – which is why he had to resign his position as a departmental deputy for his father’s party – nor have any contact with the people involved in the process that continues against him. . Now the Barranquilla judicial services center needs to appoint the judge for the trial. The Prosecutor’s Office will present all the evidence it has against him. Seeing Nicolás sitting in front of a judge will become one of the events of the year.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS newsletter about Colombia and receive all the key information on current events in the country.
#Nicolás #Petro #trial #stopping #collaborating #Prosecutors #Office #pressured #weapon #father