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Uribe rejects claims that AUC financed his election

posted by Sarah Kinosian

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe fervently denied accusations from jailed paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso on Friday that his reelection was financed by the AUC.

“There is a serious lack of truth in saying that the extradited criminal met with the president. That never happened in any way,” said Uribe’s lawyer, Jaime Granados.

Mancuso, the former commander of the AUC who is now serving prison time in the U.S., claimed that he worked with Uribe’s top advisor, Jairo Andres Angarita, to give financial and logistical support to the president’s 2006 reelection campaign. He said he met with Uribe in person but would not reveal details of the encounter.

“In the reelection of President Uribe, I gave input to commander Andres and hired buses so they could promote propaganda and move people for Uribe’s campaign,” he said in an interview with Caracol radio.

Granados revealed that the former head of state will file a libel suit with prosecutors over the paramilitary leader’s accusations and will ask Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s office and the Magistrates of Justice and Peace to deny Mancuso a reduced sentenced granted to him under 2005’s Justice and Peace law for cooperating with authorities. Under the law, the former second-in-command of the AUC would not serve more than eight years in Colombian prison after his U.S. sentence, which has yet to be handed down, is finished.

“He has missed his commitments to objectively tell the truth, depriving the country of the possibility of historical reconstruction and is using these scenarios for his personal vendetta against a government which proceeded to extradite him,” according to a press release from Granados.

Despite his accusations, Mancuso said he will not testify in court over fears for his family and lawyer’s safety.

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