Colombia freezes Betancourt assets in divorce case

AP News
Posted: Feb 23, 2011 6:29 PM
Colombia freezes Betancourt assets in divorce case

A family court has ordered former Colombian presidential candidate and rebel hostage Ingrid Betancourt's assets frozen during her divorce case, the lawyer for her estranged second husband said Wednesday.

The ruling grants a petition by Juan Carlos Lecompte, who is seeking half of Betancourt's fortune. Among her assets are the copyright and royalties from her books, an apartment in Paris and a house and land in Wyoming, said Heli Abel Torrado, Lecompte's lawyer.

In divorce cases, either of the two parties can file for assets to be frozen to prevent their sale or transfer, Torrado said. "It is a common and ordinary measure."

Attorneys for Betancourt did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment on the decision, which can be appealed.

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

She spent six years in jungle captivity before a daring rescue by Colombian soldiers freed her and 14 other hostages in July 2008.

Several months later she filed for divorce from Lecompte, whom she married in 1997. They do not have any children together.

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