BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian center-right presidential candidate Federico Gutierrez on Tuesday said a microphone had been found illegally installed in one of his campaign offices in the Andean country’s second city of Medellin.
The microphone was found on Friday and police were immediately notified Gutierrez – who opinion polls put in second place behind leftist front runner Gustavo Petro – told journalists.
Gutierrez, a former mayor of Medellin, called on his opponent to clarify if he had anything to do with the microphone.
“This campaign is beyond dirty, this is illegal and it is a criminal act that puts democracy at risk,” Gutierrez said.
Miguel Angel del Rio, a lawyer close to Petro, denied the leftist’s movement had anything to do with the microphone being placed in Gutierrez’s campaign office.
Petro and Gutierrez have each traded accusations that the other’s campaign is receiving support from illegal armed groups in Colombia, including the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) and Clan del Golfo.
Earlier this month Petro canceled events in Colombia’s coffee region because of what his office said was a plot to assassinate him.
Similarly, Gutierrez and leaders in his campaign reported receiving threats from a criminal group known as the Aguilas Negras over the weekend, which police are investigating.
The first round of voting in the presidential elections takes place on May 29. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, a second round will take place on June 19.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)