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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Colombia'sSamper Hit By Charges

BOGOTA -- Colombian President Ernesto Samper has been hit with four criminal charges, judicial sources said, threatening to bring down his government as the scandal stemming from his alleged links to drug traffickers intensified.

Prosecutor General Alfonso Valdivieso unveiled the charges, including what judicial sources described as one drug-related count of illicit enrichment, in a closed meeting Wednesday with members of the Committee of Accusations of the House of Representatives.

Sources in Valdivieso's office said the charges included electoral fraud, procedural fraud and a criminal charge stemming from Samper's alleged responsibility for covering up his 1994 election campaign's links to drug lords.

The committee is the only body constitutionally authorized to hear a case against the president, who has repeatedly protested his innocence. Valdivieso supported his charges by submitting evidence and affidavits gathered over the past 18 months as part of a snowballing investigation into charges that Samper accepted up to $6 million from the Cali drug cartel to bankroll his 1994 election campaign, the sources said.

The congressional committee, which is dominated 10-5 by members of the ruling Liberal Party, will now be compelled to reopen a probe of Samper that it shelved last December, citing a lack of evidence to prove any wrongdoing by the president.