May 15th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) President Laura Chinchilla is facing scrutiny after the government admitted she had used a private jet owned by a foreign oil company to fly to Peru to attend a wedding and meet with Peruvian President Ollanta Umala.
Chinchilla made the trip over the weekend, along with communications minister Francisco Chacon and his wife, minister of foreign trade Anabel Gonzalez to attend the wedding of vice president Luis Liberman’s son. Costa Rican authorities made a last minute request to Peruvian officials for a meeting between Chinchilla and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to discuss bilateral issues.
Chinchilla has apparently used the oil company’s private jet once before to attend the funeral of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
“There’s no conflict of interest here. The fact there are companies working with the government to provide, as a contribution, certain services is not new to this administration,” communication minister, Francisco Chacon, told reporters without elaborating further.
However, the attorney general’s office said it was investigating whether Chinchilla had broken the law by using the seven-seat Cessna 525B Citation CJ3 aircraft. Costa Rica has an Illicit Enrichment Law, which includes penalties of up to eight years in prison for public officials who accept gifts worth more than a minimum wage.
The president of Costa Rica has no plane. Chinchilla usually flies on commercial airlines or uses planes provided by other governments when making state visits, Chacon said.
The oil company that provided the private jet, THX Energy, has declined to comment on the matter.