Tax agency director to flee Colombia amid death threats

Posted on Jun 14 2014 - 7:23am by Today News
Juan Ricardo Ortega (Photo: Fenalco)

The director of Colombia’s tax agency (DIAN) will resign and flee the country amid death threats received from organized crime groups, national media reported Friday.

Juan Ricardo Ortega, the DIAN director, will quit his job in the tax agency and leave the country together with his family after receiving a number of death threats, Caracol Radio reported Friday.

According to Caracol, Ortega has fought against corruption within the tax agency during his tenure, during which he recieved various death threats. For example, according to Bogota’s Blu Radio, drug traffickers had allegedly offered $3 million to kill Juan Ricardo Ortega.

Colonel Gustavo Moreno, the official charged with investigating crimes against National Tax and Customs Direction (DIAN) employees, said criminals were “bothered” by the authorities’ crackdown on illegal and stolen goods entering Colombian territory.

Tax officials have been subjects to death threats and assassination in 2013 as well. Last year, two tax officials were assassinated and other 29 received death threats.

MORE: Colombian tax officials fall victim to violence due to crackdown: Police

Juan Ricardo Ortega has been the DIAN director since 2010 when president Juan Manuel Santos appointed him, but he is expected to formally resign after the presidential elections are over.

Only a month ago, the DIAN director revealed that embezzlement is a significantly bigger problem within Colombia’s tax agency (DIAN) than was previously expected and that since 2004, government money lost to fraud and embezzlement has amounted to over $1 billion dollars.

The announcement came one week after 13 DIAN officials were arrested for their involvement in a fraud and embezzlement ring. At the time, it was believed the embezzlement started in 2008 and totaled only $150 million. The ongoing investigation, however, has uncovered that the embezzlement started much earlier and involved more than six-times the amount of money originally thought.

MORE: Corruption in Colombia tax and customs agency much worse than originally thought: Agency director

Sources

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