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Colombian Anti-Corruption Official and Attorney Arrested for Corruption
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Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera

Summary: A Colombian attorney and anti-corruption official were arrested in Colombia for bribing a former governor in the region.

A lawyer and top Colombian official have been charged in a money-laundering-conspiracy foreign bribery scheme. Federal authorities claim the duo have engaged in a scheme to receive money from a former governor of the country’s Cordoba region as bribes.


Attorney Leonardo Luis Pinilla Gomez, 31, and anti-corruption official Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera, 35, were arrested in Colombia, according to Acting Miami U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg. Moreno is the director of Colombia’s chief prosecutor’s anti-corruption office.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit, the governor is listed as a confidential source, or CS, in the documents. The CS was under investigation for a separate corruption case and has not been named in this DEA document but was called out by Colombia’s chief prosecutor. During a statement today, chief prosecutor Nestor Martinez named the Cordoba governor of Alejandro Lyons. Apparently, former governor Lyons is currently in negotiations to plead guilty in his corruption case and is cooperating in this case.

During his statement, Martinez stated the “profound institutional pain and indignation” of Moreno’s arrest, especially since he supervised an elite police squad. He said, “This kind of conduct greatly damages the integrity of our institutions and compromises someone who had enjoyed the highest level of trust, by being assigned to one of its most-important tasks: the fight against corruption.”

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Pinilla allegedly acted as the middle man, going to the former governor with a message that Moreno “was willing to use his official position to obstruct the corruption investigation against the CS in exchange for a fee.”

The scheme became a U.S. matter when the meetings between Pinilla and the CS took place in Miami where the ex-governor is living, at places including at a cheap hotel and suburban shopping mall. DEA agents closed watched these meetings, recording the conversations.

One meeting between the CS and Moreno was on the same day that Moreno arrived in Miami to give the Internal Revenue Service an anti-corruption presentation. In his meeting with the CS outside a La Quinta Inn, he “told the CS that he had the power to judicially control how the CS’s investigation would proceed.” However, Moreno discovered a cell phone, hidden in the car they were meeting in and tried to backtrack his comments.

The affidavit states, “Moreno accused the CS of recording the conversation and began to contradict himself stating he was not asking for money and that he was sharing information with the CS because he wanted to avoid an injustice in CS’s case.”

Pinilla ruined that attempt by Moreno to clear himself of making bribes. Pinilla told CS to pay Moreno $20,000 before Moreno left Miami. Originally they had asked for $132,000. Pinilla and the CS came to an agreement to exchange $10,000 cash in an envelope at a Dolphin Mall in West Miami. The envelope was filled with special DEA money. They were able to match the serial numbers from the special DEA money to the bills found in Moreno’s suitcase. Customs officers photographed the money before he left for Bogota, Colombia. They two were arrested soon after they arrived back in their home country.

Are you surprised that a Colombian official is corrupt? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about corrupt officials, read these articles:




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