Colombia Gustavo Petro's son could face a sentence of 15 years in prison

The son of the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, will have to sit in the dock

Colombia Gustavo Petro's son could face a sentence of 15 years in prison

The son of the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, will have to sit in the dock. Nicolás Petro broke his agreement with the Attorney General's Office to sign a principle of opportunity that guaranteed him a light sentence. Now, he risks being sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of illicit enrichment and money laundering.

"Today, the fight of my life begins, I knew that Francisco Barbosa's Prosecutor's Office was not trustworthy and today they showed it. They have pushed me to the limit with the sole intention of becoming a weapon against my father. I decided to get up and I did not kneel before the executioner," the accused wrote on his X account (formerly Twitter).

He did so after learning that the Attorney General's Office had decided to take him to trial for the aforementioned crimes, committed while he was a deputy of the Atlantic Assembly, a northern department of the South American nation whose capital is Barranquilla. According to the political magazine Semana, on at least two occasions the prosecutor in charge of the case had tried to interview Nicolás Petro at his house, but the regional politician stood him up.

The last phrase of the message - "I decided to get up and not kneel before my executioner" - is a copy of what the president of Colombia said in a public event to attack the attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, with whom he has had a confrontation for many years. . In this way, it indicates that we are facing political persecution, not a judicial case.

"Nicolás Petro made the decision to immolate himself against what he himself said. He knows that legally he has no way to defend himself because he cannot justify the difference between his income, which totals about 240 million a year, and the amount of 1,000 million that he invested in a house," Francisco Bernate, president of the Colombian Criminal Lawyers Association, explains to EL MUNDO. "To illicit enrichment, therefore, money laundering can be added. It should be remembered that, in our legislation, due to this figure that was included in 1995 to combat corruption, a public official can only live off his salary, unless he has an explanation for your additional income, such as an inheritance, for example."

It was Nicolás' ex-wife, Day Vásquez, who uncovered the corruption scandal in an interview with the Colombian magazine Semana. She recounted how her then husband was given more than 1,000 million pesos (232,000 euros) destined for Gustavo Petro's campaign. But Nicolás used almost all the funds to buy a chalet.

Vásquez, who continues to collaborate with Justice, handed over more than 1,600 chats and other evidence that exposes the criminal plot.

The so-called Marlboro man, a former drug trafficker who was imprisoned for 18 years in the United States, or Gabriel Hilsaca, son of a businessman accused at the time of being the mastermind of the murder of four women, are among the donors.

A few weeks ago and given the attitude of his father, who even said in an interview that he had not raised his eldest son to distance himself from him, Nicolás Petro agreed to speak with Semana, hurt by that statement. "I will not sacrifice myself for my father," he said. And he announced that he would reveal more information about the funds contributed to his father's electoral campaign. Later, after being arrested on August 1, at the charging hearing he assured that he was willing to tell the truth.

"I want to announce to Colombia that we have decided to start a collaboration process in which I will refer to new facts and situations that will help Justice," he proclaimed. And he added that he did it without any pressure and, above all, for the child he was expecting with his new partner.

But a lightning trip by Gustavo Petro to Barranquilla changed the course of the criminal process. The presidential plane took him on a Monday to visit his first-born for a few hours.

After that meeting, Nicolás Petro's attitude took a radical turn. He broke up with his lawyer, hired a new one and did not receive the prosecutor in the case again.

"Today I visited my son Nicolás. As a father, he will always have my support and my love. As president, I have unhesitatingly respected judicial independence. I expect a criminal action free of political agendas and total subjection to the process and judicial rulings," the president spread on Twitter.

"They believe they can deceive Justice," was the recent and enigmatic message from Day Vásquez in X. In a few weeks, when the judge is appointed, the trial will begin in Barranquilla. And a soap opera that is tarnishing the image of Gustavo Petro and his political party will continue.