The 19 bundles of dollars, some bills of lempiras (Honduran currency), bolívares and 5,000 Colombian pesos stood out in the green leather bag.
(We invite you to read: Bench in Honduras asks to clarify if the Government gave money to Petro’s campaign)
One of the X-ray machines, located in the international dock of Palmerola airport, detected them. And a rookie security officer followed the owner of the baggage to the tax counter to explain where it came from.
It turned out to be the elected senator of the Historical Pact Piedad Córdoba, that from the outset she warned that she was not willing to be dropped off by the flight that was going to take her from Honduras to Panama, with a connection to Colombia.
He told the Immigration officials that the journey, from the airline Copa (which assigned him seat 8B), was scheduled for 6:33 p.m. on that Wednesday, May 25; and the connection, at 20:07.
(You may be interested in: ‘I have no idea what the reason for that money could be’: Petro on Córdoba)
But not only did the plane leave her. the elected congresswoman He now has an open investigation in Honduras, which may lead to possible money laundering and which joins the investigations that follow him in Colombia for allegedly raising money, alleged links with the FARC and receiving commissions linked to the Venezuelan regime.
This episode also led to review other about their trips abroad, where documents show that they were sponsored by a third country.
In the case of Honduras, in statements to the media, Córdoba downplayed the search, which he attributed to a “very leftover boy” who demanded that he count all the money that was in the green bag: US $ 68,000.
(On the topic: Piedad, the ‘Chicken’ and the brother, the three fronts that hit Petro)
But, as of that Wednesday night and until Friday, around 5 in the afternoon, Córdoba was officially held administratively by the Honduran Financial Police, after the Migration Institute ruled that the version on the origin of the cash did not it was satisfying.
The record of the case
In addition, according to the minutes that were drawn up, Córdoba knew that he could only withdraw the equivalent of 10,000 dollars, and omitted the declaration of the rest of the money.
The document also indicates that he had initially said that the dollars were his and then he attributed them to the payment of financial advice that he had provided to a Colombian businessman named Mauricio Sánchez, a resident of Tegucigalpa.
The officials were struck by the fact that it was a labor issue because in a statement from the Honduran Presidency it was said that the purpose of Mrs. Córdoba’s visit was “participate in activities of various women’s and human rights organizations.”
(Also: The assets of Piedad Córdoba and 10 relatives who are under scrutiny)
In addition, Córdoba was at the presidential palace on Tuesday, May 24, at 7:14 p.m., greeting her friend Xiomara Castro, who was serving 100 days in power. At her meeting with the president of Honduras – whom Gustavo Petro congratulated when she won and described her as progressive – the Colombian senator arrived with the same green bag from the airport.
The closeness of the senator with President Castro, whose inauguration she attended, and the episode of the dollars led to the bench ofthe Honduran National Party to request that the issue of the silver be investigated, and they even mentioned Petro in the plot.
“That it be established if “the Government will be financing the campaign of the leftist Gustavo Petro with money from the Honduran people,” they pointed out.
(We invite you to read: Iván Cepeda and Eduardo Montealegre lose guardianship in the Uribe case)
And they added: “If the Libre government and its Alliance have nothing to do with this crime, then they should not obstruct or distort the independent investigations of the Public Ministry so that the senator is investigated and this evident case of corruption is clarified.”.
What’s next now?
In their statement they added that Córdoba was caught red-handed.
In the midst of the investigation for alleged money laundering, EL TIEMPO established that the businessman Sánchez will be summoned in the coming days to the Prosecutor’s Office to establish his full identity, his situation in Honduras and contrast his version with that of the 68-year-old senator.
In addition, Honduran authorities are going to officially ask their peers in Colombia about the background of some people that the senator of the Historical Pact mentioned in her different versions. Local media reported that Córdoba arrived in Honduras in the company of Professor Francisco Toloza, a member of the Comunes party.
The concrete thing is that although Córdoba said that she had not been detained, the Vice Minister of Security herself, Semma Villanueva went to a Police headquarters on Thursday afternoon to take a medical exam.
In addition, Honduran authorities assured that she was subjected to an interrogation of about two hours in one of the offices of the headquarters of the Special Prosecutor against Organized Crime (Fescco) of Honduras.
On Thursday, the National Migration Institute announced that the senator-elect was no longer being held and was free to move. And on Friday she arrived on the Copa flight at 8 at night to Colombia, from Panama, according to her, to exercise her right to vote. But without the dollars.
But the investigation in Honduras is still open. In fact, investigators told EL TIEMPO that it is not the first time that Córdoba has been immersed in a case related to its migratory movements.
(On the topic: Piedad Córdoba is being investigated for alleged massive and habitual fundraising)
Indeed, they recalled that in September 2021 he entered Colombia from Venezuela without leaving a record. On that occasion, Córdoba was transferred in a wheelchair by two men and at the moment in which she had to comply with the migratory registry, she ignored it and got into a truck with FYX-972 plates, in which her security group was waiting for her. .
That day his luggage was not seized nor his passport stamped. Migration Colombia opened an administrative procedure for him despite the fact that Córdoba said that he arrived in Colombia through a humanitarian corridor. At that time it was established that he had traveled from Bogotá to the island of Dominica. And then he ended up in Caracas.
the other flights
The same sources pointed out that in one of the files linked to the senator of the Historical Pact there is a document that proves that Córdoba has moved abroad with the sponsorship of the Venezuelan dictatorship.
The document is from 2009, and in it the Government of Venezuela records payments for travel and meetings. “It is the FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act). It is incontrovertible,” said the researcher.
(You may be interested in: The audios of the gang that steals armored trucks in Bogotá)
Córdoba has always been emphatic that it was about its humanitarian and peace role.
In any case, Candidate Gustavo Petro described her conduct in Honduras as irrational and recalled that he removed her from his campaign so that she would first fix the pending issues.
Senator Córdoba, for her part, stated that the persecution against her continued. In addition, that the impasse had been clarified (see box).
I especially thank Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez and Consul Michel Carrillo for their support and attention in this impasse.
– Piedad Córdoba (@piedadcordoba) May 26, 2022
The defense of the elected senator
“I especially thank Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez and Consul Michel Carrillo for their support and attention in this impasse (…) Thank you Colombia and our America for so much solidarity. The persecution does not stop but the truth prevails. Overcoming the misunderstanding in Honduras”. With those words, Córdoba notified that he was already on his way to Colombia.
Also, He thanked the authorities of the brotherly Honduran people “for the due process for the legal procedures of the case and its timely resolution”.
(See here all the articles of the Investigative Unit of EL TIEMPO)
The senator is clear that she did not act irregularly and that she was going to declare even all the cash she was carrying in her hand luggage. In addition, that the businessman Mauricio Sánchez will be able to attest to the lawful origin of the funds.
Foreign Minister Ramírez warned that she did nothing for which Córdoba should be thankful. And she added that she was given the attention that is given to any compatriot.