Costa Rica Coffee Guide

International Police Won’t Arrest Ex-President

December 10, 2004

DOUBTS about whether LegislativeAssembly members have the power toinvolve the International Police (Interpol)in their quest to bring ex-President JoséMaría Figueres (1994-1998) back to CostaRica to explain his alleged involvement ina major corruption scandal were put to restthis week: the answer is no.Political leaders, including PresidentAbel Pacheco, have urged Figueres, wholives in Switzerland, to return here eversince he admitted to receiving $906,000from global telecommunications giantAlcatel in 2001. At press time, however,the Prosecutor’s Office had not named theformer head of state as a suspect orrequest his testimony, which preventsInterpol from taking action.Alleged payments from Alcatel toFigueres, ex-President Miguel ÁngelRodríguez (1998-2002) and former officialsof the Costa Rican ElectricityInstitute (ICE), from which Alcatelreceived a lucrative contract in 2001, arethe subject of a major government corruptionscandal under investigation by theProsecutor’s Office.When Figueres failed to appear beforethe assembly on Dec. 1 as requested, thePublic Expenditures Committee, headedby Luis Gerardo Villanueva, requested thatthe Public Security Ministry ask Interpolto force Figueres to return.However, Public Security MinisterRogelio Ramos told the assembly Mondaythat Interpol authorities decided they couldnot intervene, since the organization’s constitutionprevents action on behalf of politicalinterests, according to the daily LaNación.Ramos said Interpol will not takeaction unless the Prosecutor’s Office opensa case against Figueres or a judge issues acapture order, as was the case whenInterpol intervened to ensure the return ofRodríguez in October (TT, Oct. 22).Villanueva told The Tico Times lastweek that Figueres must appear in personbefore the assembly so he canrespond to legislators’ questions, suchas “why his honorarium was contingentupon Alcatel’s ICE contract. He still hasnot responded to that.”

You may be interested

IMF predicts ‘partial and uneven’ recovery in Latin America due to Covid-19
Costa Rica
823 views
Costa Rica
823 views

IMF predicts ‘partial and uneven’ recovery in Latin America due to Covid-19

AFP and The Tico Times - September 24, 2020

The International Monetary Fund foresees a "partial and uneven" recovery in Latin America after the Covid-19 crisis, and it anticipates…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 23
Costa Rica
5490 views
Costa Rica
5490 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 23

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020

Costa Rica announced 21 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 781, according to official data…

Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa named as World Surfing Reserve
Costa Rica
11834 views
Costa Rica
11834 views

Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa named as World Surfing Reserve

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020

Save The Waves Coalition has named Playa Hermosa in Garabito, Puntarenas as a World Surfing Reserve (WSR), the non-profit announced…