February 25, 2016 / 8:54 PM / 2 years ago

Colombia's finance minister under investigation for Isagen sale

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s attorney general’s office said on Thursday it has opened a preliminary investigation into Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas for supposed irregularities in the recent $2 billion privatization of power generator Isagen.

Colombia's Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas attends a meeting of the "Alianza del Pacifico" (Pacific Alliance) at the 2015 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Lima, Peru, October 9, 2015. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

The government sold its majority stake in Isagen in January to Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management for 6.49 trillion pesos. Brookfield valued the sale at $2.2 billion.

The investigation began after a citizen group dedicated to advocating for public resources accused Cardenas of illegally selling the company and shirking his duties as a public servant.

The ministry said Cardenas had not yet been formally informed of the investigation.

Cardenas could face criminal charges and jail time should the investigation reveal wrongdoing.

Colombia plans to use the Isagen proceeds to fund highways, bridges and tunnels across the country, its so-called 4G infrastructure projects.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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