BOGOTA – Uruguayan authorities have granted political asylum to Johana Ivette Leon Bermudez, the wife of David Murcia Guzman, who is accused of running the largest pyramid scheme in Colombian history.
Murcia Guzman’s attorney, Gustavo Salazar, said the woman will have a special passport that allows her to move freely in Uruguayan territory and even work there, Bogota’s El Espectador newspaper reported in its online edition.
Uruguayan authorities granted that status to Leon Bermudez because of the evident political undertones in the DMG case, Salazar said.
That decision “confirms what we said at the beginning: that the trial of David Murcia undoubtedly has legal overtones, but it also has a political dimension,” the attorney said.
Murcia Guzman was arrested in Panama last November and extradited to Colombia, where he currently is on trial for the massive and illegal raising of capital.
DMG comprised dozens of branches in Colombia and Murcia Guzman planned to expand his business empire into neighboring countries when it was taken over by the Colombian government on Nov. 17.
His business model consisted of selling pre-paid debit cards to clients, who could use them to purchase products at DMG stores and later redeem them for cash as a reward for signing on other investors.
While several other pyramid schemes in Colombia went bust last year, leaving thousands of duped investors in the lurch, DMG was still operating at the time it was shuttered.
The decision to shut down DMG’s operations sparked protests in the southern Colombian provinces of Putumayo and Huila. The demonstrators said the up to 300 percent returns they were receiving on their investments were their only means of putting food on the table after government coca spraying left many peasants jobless.
A pyramid scheme is a scam in which exorbitant returns are paid to investors out of the money contributed by subsequent investors, rather than from profit.
It inevitably collapses when cash outflow exceeds cash inflow. EFE