Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Andres Felipe Arias is requesting asylum in the U.S. to avoid prison time, after he was found guilty of public corruption in Colombia


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A politician accused of corruption in Colombia may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale, the Colombian magazine Semana reported Friday.

The former minister of agriculture and rural development Andres Felipe Arias, 41, was under investigation for public corruption before he and his family left Bogota.

On July  3, he was found guilty of mismanaging funds in a program that was meant to provide subsidies for struggling farmers, but instead ended up in the hands of wealthy landowners. He did not appear in court July 18. 

Arias contends that he is innocent and the charges are a merciless political attack.  El Espectador newspaper reported he could face 18 to 33 years in prison.

Sources told Semana that Arias was recently trying to register his daughter at a school in Fort Lauderdale. The family had a case pending for political asylum in the U.S.

Arias and his wife, Catalina Serrano Garzon, have a daughter named Eloisa and a boy named Juan Pedro.

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