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Colombia’s Attorney General Investigates Petro’s Campaign Financing

Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into allegations of illegal financing of President Gustavo Petro’s election campaign last year, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Friday (9).

The investigation is the latest twist in a political scandal that has destabilized Petro’s government as Colombia’s first left-wing president tries to pass a trio of bills through the country’s congress – labor, pension and health care reforms.

“[A investigação] will investigate possible perpetrators of crimes related to the financing of electoral campaigns from prohibited sources, violation of electoral financing limits and others that may be typified,” the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Petro denied any funding irregularities, via Twitter. A spokesman for the president was not immediately available for comment.

Petro accepted the resignations of his former chief of staff Laura Sarabia and former ambassador to Venezuela Armando Benedetti last week after the attorney general’s office said two former Sarabia officials were victims of illegal wiretapping after she reported the theft of 4,000 dollars from her house

Benedetti has been accused of leaking information about one of the former employees to the press, which he denies. Sarabia also denied any wrongdoing.

A local magazine later published audio messages that Benedetti allegedly sent to Sarabia, who worked for him when he was a congressman.

In one recording, Benedetti uses phrases that the media and politicians have interpreted as relating to campaign finance irregularities, although Benedetti said on Twitter that the audio was “manipulated”.

The National Electoral Council said in a statement that it had summoned Benedetti and Sarabia to testify on the charges on June 13.

Source: CNN Brasil

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