September 9th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Former President of Costa Rica, Miguel Angel Rodriguez will return to court today, this time in relation to alleged embezzlement involving INS and and a European insurance firm.
Rodriguez is no stranger to corruption scandals. In 1997, while Rodríguez was a candidate for the Presidency of Costa Rica, he met Mexican politician and businessman, Carlos Hank González. He reportedly accepted campaign contributions from Hank, which is forbidden by Costa Rican law.
Later, news reports claimed that Rodríguez had also received $1.4 million from the government of Taiwan. The funds were deposited to a bank account in Panama controlled by the firm Inversiones Denisse S.A., which allegedly belonged to Rodríguez.
Rodríguez was also tried in Costa Rica for allegedly receiving more than $800,000 in payments from French telecom company Alcatel, in exchange for helping the company receive a government contract to provide 400,000 cell phone lines.
Today, Rodriguez will face a preliminary hearing in regards to alleged embezzlement to the detriment of the National Insurance Institute (INS).
An investigation revealed that British reinsurance firm PWS paid more than $2 million in bribes to three Costa Rican officials between 1998 and 2002 in exchange for a contract with INS. One of those officials was allegedly Rodriguez.
Allegedly, PWS inflated the policies of theInstituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) in order to create a discretionary fund of $1.6 million. The director of ICE at the time was Rafael Sequeira, father-in-law of Rodríguez’s son.
Rodriguez’s preliminary hearing will be held today at the Criminal Court of the Second Circuit of San José, in Goicoechea. In a press release, Rodriguez said his defense “is fully convinced that this process will once again prove my innocence.”
Rodriguez served as President of Costa Rica from 1998 to 2002 and was briefly Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2004, before stepping down to return to Costa Rica and face allegations of financial wrongdoing during his time as president.