The name of Julio Gerlein Echeverria It has come out publicly again in the last few hours. This time, not because of the works in which his contracting firm participates, but because of the case Aida Merlano to which he has been linked since 2018.
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In an audio broadcast this Thursday by the former congresswoman’s lawyer, Miguel Angel del Rioa dialogue is heard between Merlano Rebolledo and Gerlein, who assures him that he contributed 12,000 million pesos for his election.
But who is Julio Gerlein Echeverría? He is part of a traditional family from Barranquilla. He was born in 1940 and is the brother of the deceased George and Robert Gerlein.
The rise of Valorcon
Unlike his brothers, Julio stayed out of politics, at least not directly involved. He trained as a civil engineer at the Javeriana university and, after gaining experience in the construction sector, founded Valorcon in 1992.
Since then, with the firm, he has become a powerful public contracting authority, participating in hundreds of housing projects, roads, industry, sports and even in the navigability of the Magdalena River.
This is how it was linked in the construction of the Metropolitan Stadiumwas also once in the operation of sewage, aqueduct and sanitation of Triple A, and in the construction of the roads for the Transmetro mass transportation system.
He also participated together with Odebrechtin the Navelena Consortium, which was assigned the recovery of the navigability of the Magdalena River, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), signed by the national government and Cormagdalena.
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However, it was expired in 2017 due to alleged hiring irregularities.
Similarly, it was linked to the North Connection Highway Concession, worth 875,000 thousand million pesos, for the work of a fourth generation road, which connects Bajo Cauca with the Coast.
Gerlein’s participation with Valorcon also reached the remodeling works of the Ernesto Cortissoz airportfrom Barranquilla, in 2015. With an initial investment of 610,000 million pesos, it was awarded to Grupo Aeroportuario del Caribe.
This conformation is made up of Valorcon, with 41.5 percent; Universal Team and Ghafari Associates. The project has been questioned due to the delay in the delivery of the works and due to the current appearance of the air terminal, with leaks inside.
His relationship with Aida Merlano Rebolledo
The Gerlein family has also participated in the Barranquilla Carnival. Especially in 2014, when Julio’s granddaughter, Maria Margarita Diazgranados Gerlein it was the queen. For the coronation party, they hired the singer Juan Luis Guerra.
But it was not the only time that Gerlein was related to the “carnestolendas”, as his wife Margarita Villa de Gerlein was also queen of these parties in the year 1988.
Since the Colombian authorities raided the called ‘White House’ by Aida MerlanoIn 2018, more details of the relationship that both had and from which Gerlein has tried to distance himself were known.
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Thread of a conversation between Aida Merlano and Julio Gerlein establishes how their campaign received money from Serfinanza, the company of the Char and Faisal Cure in the purchase of votes. This is not a political game. They are crimes and they involve the coastal mafias. And more will come! Part 1 pic.twitter.com/nNBN5zRDeq
– Miguel Angel Del Río Malo (@migueldelrioabg) February 10, 2022
One of Merlano Rebolledo’s childhood dreams was to reach the political spectrum. This is how she found, according to previous versions, support from this family, especially from Julio, who took her from a neighborhood in the south-west of the city and took her to live in an apartment in the north.
It must be remembered that, prior to her relationship with Julio Gerlein, the former congresswoman had as her second husband the former councilman of Barranquilla and today a candidate for the Senate, Carlos Rojano Llinaswho was trying to take Gerlein’s place in Congress, but the scandal broke in 2018.
Gerlein gradually involved her with the heads of the Conservative party until her launch as a candidate for the Senate four years ago, obtaining the number of votes necessary to get there.
Further, his daughter, Aida Victoria, has publicly supported the father figure that the man meant to her, denoting the strong bond they had between the three. Because of this confession, the young woman has been the target of threats.
Julio Gerlein was charged by the Attorney General’s Office for alleged illegal financing of the ‘White House’.
This institution pointed him out for the crimes of conspiracy to commit a crime, corruption of the voter and violation of the ceilings or limits of expenses in electoral campaigns.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, “it was established that the organization worked at the service of candidacies that were supported by a group of regional political leaders who, in turn, contacted leaders in charge of recruiting voters from their captive markets. Such voters received money in exchange for their vote, as if it were a commodity, from illicit financing sources.
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