Bogota: The man known as Colombia`s "emerald Czar" survived at least two assassination attempts and avoided criminal conviction despite his alleged role as a leading promoter of far-right militias.
It was lung cancer that claimed the life of Victor Carranza on Wednesday in Bogota at age 77.
The moustachioed emerald magnate, one of Colombia`s wealthiest landowners, built his fortune after discovering his first emerald mine in the late 1940s.
A loquacious, gravel-voiced man of humble origins with deep political connections, he fought three power struggles for control of the sector beginning in the 1960s. The fighting left nearly 5,000 people dead while Carranza amassed a private army, say the authors of a 2012 biography.
He was charged in 1998 with kidnapping and forming illegal right-wing militias but managed to avoid trial.