Odebrecht case: Prosecutor’s Office again requests the estoppel of two businessmen involved


Odebrecht case: Prosecutor’s Office once again requests the estoppel of two implicated businessmen. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

The Attorney General’s Office asked a judge of the Republic, for the second time, the preclusion of the case that exists against the businessmen Gilberto Hernan Saldarriaga Giraldo Y Gilberto Ramirez Varela, representatives of Megaland SAS and Business M&E, respectively. Both are accused of having laundered money in the well-known scandal of Odebrecht.

According to the investigating body, it has no evidence against the defendants to support their guilt in a trial. This argument was debated by the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, since it would not make sense for the businessmen to have been charged with the crimes, be called to answer before a court and then estoppel be requested. “The prosecution he cannot go to trial to find out what happened, he should have already found out”, added the Public Ministry.

It is important to remember that the first time the estoppel was denied, the judge stressed that Saldarriaga and Ramírez would be key players in Roberto Prieto, the former manager of the presidential campaign of Juan Manuel Santos and prosecuted for the Odebrecht scandal. For its part, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that Prieto would have used the friendship with both businessmen to carry out illicit activities in favor of the multinational.

According to Radius Snailin the judicial file of the defendants are the financial movements that would link them to money laundering.

Saldarriaga cashed checks for more than 750 million pesos as manager of Megaland SAS and that money would have reached Roberto Prieto. Ramírez Varela received from businessman Eduardo Zambrano ―also implicated in the Odebrecht case― a check for 280 million pesos, which was picked up by the Marketmedios messenger at the request of José Roberto Prieto.

The truth is that after an investigation carried out by an elite body of the Prosecutor’s Office, evidence was found to show that Roberto Prieto intervened in obtaining the contract for a bridge on Ruta del Sol 3 and would have kept 10%. According to these inquiries, the former manager of the Santos presidential campaign received cash and bank transactions from the money of the subcontract that was never executed.

On November 30, 2021, a judge of the Republic denied the first preclusion requested by the control entity. The togado questioned the investigative entity because, after 30 days of making the request, he assured that the businessmen were innocent.

“Given the non-existence of the investigated fact, it is observed that the elements brought to the central hypothesis of the accusing entity’s argument is that the imputed fact existed,” explained the judge. Following this, he pointed out that in the interrogations of Prieto it was clear “the existence of alleged illegal resources, reflecting with this the existence of the elements that could demonstrate actions that should be debated in oral proceedings,” he added.

At that moment, the FM highlighted that a large sum of money that would have ended up in the pockets of Roberto Prieto It was the product of several checks signed by the two businessmen that the Prosecutor’s Office intended to remove from the investigation.

It should be remembered that on April 17 Prieto was released. The prisoner was sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 and was released thanks to the pre-agreement he reached with the Prosecutor’s Office and for achieving sentence reductions on account of his work and good behavior in the prison.

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