BOGOTA, July 29 (Reuters) – Nicolas Petro, the son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, has been arrested as part of a money laundering and illicit enrichment investigation, the attorney general’s office said early on Saturday.
The younger Petro, a politician in Atlantico province, had welcomed the investigation when it began in March and has previously called accusations that he took money from drug dealers in exchange for including them in his father’s peace efforts unfounded.
Nicolas’ ex-wife Daysuris del Carmen Vasquez was also arrested on charges of money laundering and breach of personal data, who earlier this year told local media that two people accused of involvement in drug trafficking had given Nicolas money for his father’s campaign .
Petro said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that it was painful for one of his children to be imprisoned, but that the Attorney General’s Office had every guarantee to proceed in accordance with the law.
“To my son, I wish good luck. May these incidents shape his character and may he reflect on his own mistakes,” the president said. “As I have confirmed to the Attorney General, I will not intervene or pressure his decisions, let the law freely guide the process.”
The president has vowed to strike peace or surrender deals with rebels and crime gangs to end Colombia’s 60-year internal conflict, which has killed 450,000 people.
The effort has been met with mixed success during his first year in office. Revived talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group have led to a ceasefire due to begin in August, while efforts to hold talks with the major criminal gang, the Clan del Golfo, have faltered due to continued violence.
A bill to regulate surrenders by crime groups, giving participants lower sentences in exchange for information and restorative work, has drawn fierce criticism, including from the justice minister.
The attorney general’s office will ask a judge that the younger Petro and Vasquez be held on the charges, it said.
“Charges will be filed for the aforementioned crimes and custodial measures will be requested,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement, adding that the arrests took place at 06:00 local time (1100 GMT).
Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Diane Craft
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.