The relief did not last long to the former magistrate of the Constitutional Court Rodrigo Escobar Gil. In January, the decision of a Bogota judge who made the decision to acquit him on the charge of influence peddling in the Fidupetrol scandal was made known. However, this Thursday, the Superior Court of Bogotá made the decision to overturn this decision and instead condemn it to four years as the person responsible for having mediated before its ex-colleges to select a guardianship of that oil company.
Although in the first instance, the court considered that the Prosecutor’s Office failed to demonstrate any influence on the part of the ex-judge in the study and final ruling of the guardianship within the Constitutional Court, another conclusion came to the court, with a presentation by Judge Fernando Pareja. In addition to sentencing him, he is ordered to pay 100 legal minimum wages.
The court does not order his arrest, taking into account that the decision is not final and that Escobar Gil has been brought to justice. The sentence will have to be reviewed in cassation by the Supreme Court of Justice.
Escobar Gil had ended up involved in that episode especially for the celebration of a lunch at La Table de Michel restaurant in zone G. He was also attended by magistrates Jorge Pretelt and Mauricio González. According to what was said when the Fidupetrol scandal broke out in that lunch, the guardianship with which the company intended to evade a millionaire compensation would have been discussed.
In the process, Mauricio González said that the mention of the subject was “fleeting” and that Escobar never asked him to influence it. The lawyer of ex-judge Jaime Granados described the meeting as a common event among professionals who had not had the importance that they accused him. “In my 30 years of professional practice I have seen this many times and it did not occur to anyone that this is a crime,” he said long before the ruling became known.
However, the determining factor ended up being the testimony of Víctor Pacheco. The lawyer, as he remembered, had told another magistrate of the Constitutional Court that Jorge Pretelt had allegedly said that the process was complex, that he had to find a lawyer for carat, and that this could cost 400 million pesos.
This was interpreted by Pachecho as the request for a bribe that would have been turned over by the company through Escobar, who had a contract of similar value as his lawyer. The judge said in Escobar’s acquittal that the contract was not a facade, as was believed. This in his defense presented evidence of all the activities he had done by virtue of his employment relationship with that company.
Pacheco became the star witness of that scandal, but in the process of Rodrigo Escobar the judge takes away his credibility. According to the former magistrate in a press release, the lawyer has changed the version several times and has even retracted.
The lawyer Pacheco is currently key in the trial that was advanced in the Supreme Court of Justice against former judge Jorge Pretelt; currently it is for failure. Therefore, the assessment made by the Superior Court of Bogotá against Pacheco’s statements before the courts may be key to other processes that emerge from the thunderous case.