BOGOTA Feb 8 Colombia's attorney general on
Wednesday called for a probe into whether President Juan Manuel
Santos's 2014 campaign received as much as $1 million from a
Brazilian firm, though he added that the only evidence came from
an ex-senator accused of corruption.
Some of the $4.6 million allegedly paid by engineering
company Odebrecht SA to Otto Bula Bula, a former Liberal Party
senator, may have gone to the Santos reelection effort, Attorney
General Nestor Humberto Martinez told reporters.
"For now, the testimony of Bula is the only proof of the
entrance of $1 million into the Santos campaign. He has
explained the method, time and place of the delivery of that
money," said Martinez, who asked that the country's electoral
commission launch an investigation.
On Tuesday night, Martinez was more emphatic about the
"It has been established that of that amount ($4.6 million),
in 2014 Mr. Otto Bula sent two transfers to Colombia, which were
cashed at the time, for a total sum of $1 million, and whose
final beneficiary was the campaign management of "Santos for
President - 2014."
The president's campaign chief Roberto Prieto denied the
accusation and Camilo Enciso, the president's transparency
secretary, said the allegations were untrue. The 2014 campaign
secured a second four-year term for Santos, who won the 2016
Nobel Peace prize.
Odebrecht's Colombian office declined to comment. The
company is dealing with the fallout from its role in an
international bribes-for-contracts scandal unearthed by
U.S. prosecutors allege that Odebrecht paid hundreds of
millions of dollars in bribes in association with projects in 12
countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and
Venezuela, between 2002 and 2016.
Martinez has said that Bula, who was arrested last month on
charges of bribery and illicit enrichment, was tasked by
Odebrecht with ensuring a certain number of higher-priced tolls
were included in a highway construction contract.
Bula has denied the allegations.
The campaign of Santos's rival in the election, Oscar Ivan
Zuluaga, is also facing an investigation by the electoral
commission for receiving money from Odebrecht. Zuluaga was the
candidate for former President Alvaro Uribe's right-wing
Democratic Center party.
(Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Julia Symmes Cobb and