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Colombian President’s Son Arrested on Money Laundering and Illicit Enrichment Charges

The attorney general’s office announced on Saturday that Nicolas Petro, the son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, has been arrested as part of an investigation into money laundering and illicit enrichment. This development comes after an initial investigation was launched in March, to which the younger Petro had expressed his willingness to cooperate. He has vehemently denied allegations of accepting money from drug traffickers in exchange for including them in his father’s peace efforts to end civil strife.

The arrest of Nicolas Petro was captured by Colombian media, showing him being escorted to a government plane by security agents in armored vehicles and motorcycles. President Petro, in a statement on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), expressed his sadness over his son’s imprisonment but emphasized that the attorney general’s office had all the necessary legal guarantees to proceed with the case according to the law.

The President wished his son luck and strength and hoped that this experience would help shape his character and lead him to reflect on his mistakes. He further stated his commitment to non-interference and non-influence in the attorney general’s decisions, allowing the law to guide the process freely.

The Colombian procurator, in a separate statement, declared its intention to intervene in the upcoming hearings of Petro’s son and his ex-wife to ensure the respect for the legal system, as well as the fundamental rights and guarantees of all parties involved.

In recent years, President Gustavo Petro has made efforts to bring peace and reconciliation to Colombia, including surrender deals with rebels and crime gangs. However, these efforts have faced challenges and yielded mixed results. Revived negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group have led to an upcoming ceasefire in August. Conversely, attempts to engage in conversations with major crime gang the Clan del Golfo have faltered due to ongoing violence.

A proposed law aimed at regulating crime group surrenders, offering reduced sentences in exchange for information and restorative work, has faced severe criticism, including from the attorney general’s office.

The attorney general’s office intends to formally charge Nicolas Petro and his ex-wife and request that they be held in custody on the aforementioned charges, according to a statement released by the office.

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Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Luis Jaime Acosta; editing by Diane Craft and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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