Celebrated Scandals of the ’70s

May 19, 2006

Swiss Trust Ban Corporation Investors lost $295,000 invested with a local company operated illegally as a bank by North Carolina native Robert Brown. His wife Dawn, who ran Dawn Secretarial Services in downtown San José, helpfully referred clients to him.

Latin American Bank/Grupo Proin Cayman-based bank collapsed after loaning heavily to companies belonging to a local consortium operated by Costa Rican Arnoldo Rodríguez, who later was convicted in the U.S. of fraud in another offshore bank scheme. He staged a spectacular escape from a U.S.minimum-security prison, boarded a waiting plane and fled back to Costa Rica.

Aguacate Consolidated Mines Co. was accused by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of fraudulently selling stock to U.S. investors.

Josef Slyomovics, a Czech-born Canadian living here as a tourist, faced a score of lawsuits stemming from Playa del Sol development he was promoting on Atlantic coast and a large sugar project. After The Tico Times reported his activities, he sued the paper for libel. In a landmark decision, Costa Rica s Supreme Court absolved TT, ruling that the press has not only the right, but the duty to publish stories of public interest.

International Trade Development of Costa Rica, S.A., run by U.S. citizens Robert Winston Slocum and Donald L. Gordon, was sued by SEC for selling unregistered stock to several thousand investors in U.S.

Girofinance S.A. Flashy investment firm listed on Costa Rica s Stock Exchange went belly-up when its principal officers, Christian Grzonka, a German of Czech origin, and Jo Schweitzer, a native of Luxembourg, disappeared with $1.6 million in investors funds.

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