The incarcerated former head of Colombia’s top corruption-fighting agency will plead guilty to charges related to allegedly accepting a bribe earlier this year in the United States, his attorney told the Colombian media.
Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivero, who previously led the anti-corruption unit within the office of the attorney general before being arrested late last month, is expected to make his plea on Friday, July 14, in front of the High Court of Bogotá in the Colombian capital, according to various reports.
His lawyer, Francisco Bernate, said that Moreno is prepared to accept responsibility for his actions and provide relevant information to authorities in both Colombia and the United States if requested. With cooperation in the case, Bernate said he believes his client can receive a sentence of between six to eight years in prison.
“If [Colombia’s] attorney general or the U.S. authorities will take into account that he can provide information, he is willing to give it,” said Bernate, according to Colombian media outlet CM&.
Bernate told the media that Moreno also plans to seek an express extradition to the United States and has requested that Friday’s proceedings be conducted by teleconference in order to ensure the security of his client.
According to case documents from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Moreno allegedly took a $10,000 USD down payment of a bribe during a meeting in South Florida with a former Colombian governor who has been facing embezzlement charges in his home country.
The initial payment provided by disgraced former Córdoba governor Alejandro Lyons Muskus, which was expected to the first installment of a $130,000 USD sum, was allegedly being handed over in exchange for Moreno’s “ability to control the investigation” against the governor, according the DOJ.
Moreno, who has been under investigation by U.S. law enforcement dating back to at least November 2016, was apprehended on June 27 in Bogotá. Among the reported charges are conspiracy to launder money with the intent to promote foreign bribery.
“With indignation and profound institutional pain,” said Colombian Attorney General Nestór Humberto Martínez in a statement after the arrest, “I am obliged to inform the public that…Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivero has just been captured…for conduct that seriously damages our institutional integrity.”