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Colombian police chief resigns over male prostitution ring scandal

Police chief Rodolfo Palomino has resigned over allegations of corruption and of running a male prostitution ring. The scandal has also ensnarled the country's deputy interior minister.

The resignation came a day after Colombia's inspector general opened an investigation into allegations police officials were involved in creating a male prostitution ring that used young cadets to serve senior officers and members of congress.

Allegations of what

the media has dubbed

"The Fellowship of the Ring" first surfaced last year and have dominated the headlines in recent days. Police officers have reportedly previously accused Palomino of propositioning them for sex.

Issuing his resignation on Wednesday, Palomino, 58, denied the allegations and accused those behind the campaign of "reckless" slander designed to discredit the police.

Palomino said in a statement he read alongside his wife and children that he was resigning "with the absolute knowledge of my innocence of the charges that have been laid against me."

On Tuesday, Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez, a conservative political opponent of President Juan Manuel Santos, said authorities had obtained corroborating evidence of a prostitution ring through a testimony and videotaped conversation from 2008 between a former senator and police captain.

Colombian media broadcast a video that allegedly shows Deputy Interior Minister Carlos Ferro in 2008, then a senator, discussing male prostitutes.

Ferro, 53, resigned Tuesday.

Other allegations against Palomino include illegal wiretaps of journalists. Questions have arisen into how he was able to afford a luxury house outside of Bogota with his official salary.

The charges stem from alleged activities between 2004 and 2008.

cw/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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