Estranged Colombian spouse of ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt seeks half of her fortune

By Libardo Cardona, AP
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Estranged husband seeks half Betancourt’s assets

BOGOTA, Colombia — The estranged second husband of Ingrid Betancourt has filed court papers seeking half her fortune just as the world’s most celebrated ex-hostage launches a memoir about her six years in jungle captivity

The lawyer for Juan Carlos Lecompte told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he filed a motion a day earlier in Bogota family court seeking to freeze all of Betancourt’s assets — in Colombia and abroad.

Lawyer Heli Abel Torrado said the assets include an apartment in Paris, a home in Wyoming and royalties from her memoir. The book, titled “Even Silence Has An End,” went on sale internationally Tuesday.

Betancourt’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lecompte said Betancourt, 48, filed for divorce several months after the Colombian government rescued her in July 2008.

Her memoir has already raised the ire of one of her former fellow captives, Clara Rojas, who decried as “infamy” Betancourt’s suggestion in it that Rojas asked their leftist rebel captives for permission to get pregnant.

Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian national, was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in February 2002 while campaigning for president.

Betancourt has two grown children from her first marriage and now divides her time between Paris and New York.

She alienated many Colombians in July when they learned she had decided to seek more than $6 million in damages from the state. Betancourt later withdrew the petition for damages.

Some prominent Colombians accused her of being reckless by heading into the conflict zone where she was kidnapped. Betancourt contends the government bears responsibility for stripping her of armed protection.

Betancourt appears to harbor lingering resentments.

In an interview with the Bogota newspaper El Espectador on Sunday, she called Colombian society “cruel.”

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