Letter from Senator Robledo to Colombia’s Ambassador to the US

[Translated by Steve Cagan, A CSN’s Volunteer Translator]

What was the role of Brigard & Urrutia en the illegal purchase of land of Riopaila Castilla and Cargill?


A letter from Senator Robledo to Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States—Bogotá, June 20, 2013.




Carlos Urrutia – Valenzuela

Ambassador of Colombia to the United States

Washington D C


Re: What was the role of Brigard & Urrutia in the illegal purchase of land by Riopaila Castilla and Cargill?

A cordial greeting:

I cannot accept your explanation about your responsibility in the violation of Law 160 of 1994 by Riopaila Castilla in acquiring 40 thousand hectares in Vichada (Veracruz Project), an operation that was legally directed by Brigard & Urrutia. You said, “to assume the responsibility of Ambassador to Washington, Carlos Urrutia sold his shares in the company Brigard & Urrutia, Attorneys, and today does not participate in that firm.” But it turns out that you were named in August of 2012 and the legal violations began at least on August 14 0f 2009, and developed during 2010, 2011 and 20123, when you were the main shareholder and head of Brigard & Urrutia.

Therefore, Mister Ambassador, as a public servant, you must answer the following questions of mine, according to Article 58 of Law 5 of 1992:

Were you unaware that Article 72 of Law 160 of 1990 prohibits the creation of large haciendas by putting together farms acquired from peasants that they had obtained through the agrarian reform? How do you explain that fact that Brigard & Urrutia induced Riopaila Castilla to buy some properties that the law prohibits them from buying? Did Brigard & Urrutia explain to the directors and shareholders of Riopaila Castilla that the Veracruz Project was illegal?

¿En qué fecha contrató Riopaila Castilla la asesoría de Brigard & Urrutia para estructurar el Proyecto Veracruz? Por favor, adjuntar el contrato entre las dos partes. ¿Por qué las compras de los 37 predios que totalizaron 42.338 hectáreas se hicieron mediante la creación de 27 SAS, en las que fungió como único accionista el abogado asociado de Brigard & Urrutia, Francisco Uribe Noguera? ¿Cuál fue la razón para que los 40 mil millones de pesos que invirtió Riopaila Castilla aparecieran como préstamos a las 27 SAS?

On what date did Riopaila Castilla hire Brigard & Urrutia as their advisers for structuring the Veracruz Project? Please attach the contract between the two parties. Why was the purchase of the 37 parcels which totaled 42,338 hectares made through the creation of 27 SASs [note: SAS is Sociedad por Acciones Simplificada, a limited partnership. Despite the word “Sociedad,” it is not a corporation, but a partnership—SC], in which Francisco Uribe Noguera, associate attorney of Brigard & Urrutia, functioned as the only investor? What was the reason that the 40 billion pesos that Riopaila Castilla invested appeared as loans to the 27 SASs?

Why were the 27 SASs taken to Spain, where Doctor Uribe Noguera gave them for free to five Spanish corporations, with which they created Vizcaya Holding SARL, whose headquarters was in Luxembourg, which in turn created five firms that ended up being the owners of the original five? Why is it said that Riopaila only acquired those SASs on December 31, 2012?

Now we have also learned of a deal similar to that of Riopaila Castilla that Brigard & Urrutia made for the illegal purchase of land by the North American transnational corporation Cargill (2010 to 2012), to acquire at least 40 thousand hectares in Vichada, through Black River Colombia and 26 SASs. What was your role, as the head of Brigard & Urrutia, in these acquisitions? Beyond the cases of Riopaila and Cargill, did you participate in the structuring of other entrepreneurial projects to acquire lands that originally went to peasants through measures of the agrarian reform?




Jorge Enrique Robledo

Senator from the Polo Democrático Party

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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