• Costa Rica Travel Insurance
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Ex-Prez Miguel Ángel Rodríguez receives 5-year jail term in bribe case

November 21, 2014

A San José criminal court judge sentenced former Costa Rican President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, 71, on Wednesday to a five-year prison term for “instigating corruption” in a telecommunications deal involving the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and French company Alcatel, now Alcatel-Lucent. (Watch a video of Rodríguez’s arrest here)

The former president, who also briefly served as secretary general of the Organization of American States, was found not guilty of a separate charge of illegal enrichment. Defense lawyers will likely appeal the ruling, which was handed down at 3:20 p.m.

Eight other co-defendants also were found guilty of various corruption charges and received prison terms ranging from 18 months to 15 years. Three defendants, Guido Sibaja, Edgar Valverde and Luis Adrian Quirós, will begin serving prison terms immediately.

As he exited the courtroom at 6:40 p.m., a defiant Rodríguez issued a brief statement, saying the charges against him are false.

“We will appeal. We will defend ourselves,” Rodríguez said. “What happened today is just another step forward down the same road… I want any one of you to tell me one illegal thing I did to merit these charges.”

While the three-hour trial was proceeding, the prosecutors’ main witness, José Antonio Lobo, a former ICE director, boarded a plane bound for the U.S., the daily La Nación reported. Defense attorneys argued that Lobo should also be on trial for his role in the scandal.

“There’s a big difference when one person is allowed to leave the country while another person is prohibited from leaving,” Rodríguez said. “What a strange type of justice.”

Rodríguez served as president from 1998-2002. In 2004, he resigned his post as OAS secretary general and returned to Costa Rica to face corruption charges. Upon his arrival at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, police arrested him.

Rodríguez becomes the second Costa Rican president arrested and convicted of bribery-related charges after serving in office. In 2009, former President Rafael Ángel Calderón (1990-1994), 62, received a five-year prison term for distributing millions of dollars in “commissions” in a medical equipment deal between a private company and Costa Rica’s Social Security System, known as the Caja.

Follow ticotimes.net for updates on the story.

Politics Poll

How much corruption exists in Costa Rica politics?




You may be interested

Saprissa, Alajuelense qualify for Champions League
News
1069 views
News
1069 views

Saprissa, Alajuelense qualify for Champions League

The Tico Times - December 3, 2020

Costa Rica's two most-popular soccer clubs will represent the country at the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. Deportivo Saprissa and Liga…

CCSS conducts ‘mega transfer’ of COVID patients from full hospital
Costa Rica
15815 views
Costa Rica
15815 views

CCSS conducts ‘mega transfer’ of COVID patients from full hospital

Alejandro Zúñiga - December 3, 2020

The Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) on Wednesday conducted a large-scale transfer of coronavirus patients from a saturated Escalante Pradilla…

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Thursday
Costa Rica
2200 views
Costa Rica
2200 views

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Thursday

Alejandro Zúñiga - December 3, 2020

Happy Thursday from The Tico Times! Here's the news you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica.…