Colombia's President Says He'll Stay Out of Son's Arrest

Nicolas Petro is being held in money laundering investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2023 12:45 PM CDT
Colombia's President Says He'll Stay Out of Son's Arrest
Colombia's President Gustavo Petro delivers a speech in Bogota on July 20.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

Colombian police arrested the president's son Saturday as part of a high-profile money laundering probe involving funds he's accused of collecting from convicted drug traffickers during last year's presidential campaign. President Gustavo Petro, a former rebel who rose through Colombia's political ranks as an anti-corruption crusader, said he wouldn't interfere with the investigation, the AP reports. "As an individual and father, it pains me to see so much self destruction and one of my sons going to jail," Petro said in an early morning message on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. "As president of the republic, I've assured the chief prosecutor's office that it will have all of the guarantees so it can proceed according to the law."

The arrest of Nicolas Petro is a major blow to the government, which has been buffeted by conservative attacks from Day One at the same time it has struggled to maintain bipartisan support for Colombia in the US, a longtime ally in the war on drugs and fight against illegal armed groups. The investigation stems from shocking declarations made by Nicolas Petro's ex-wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vasquez, to local media outlet Semana earlier this year. In the extended interview, Vasquez detailed being present at meetings when her husband arranged a donation of more than 600 million pesos (around $150,000) from a politician once convicted in Washington of drug trafficking and who was seeking the Petro campaign's support to resume his political career.

She said that President Petro was unaware of his son's dealings and that the money he collected in his campaign's name was kept in a safe in the couple's home in the coastal city of Barranquilla. Nicolas Petro has denied his ex-wife's claims. The chief prosecutor's office said in a statement that Nicolas Petro and his ex-wife were taken into custody on orders of a court in Bogota on Saturday morning, per the AP. It said that once the case is brought before a judge, prosecutors would seek provisional detention as they investigate the two on suspicion of money laundering.

(More Colombia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.