• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Evangelical lawmaker faces criminal investigation for campaign finances

July 13, 2011

The Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) on Friday asked the Prosecutor’s Office to open a criminal investigation of Costa Rican Renovation Party congressman Justo Orozco. The tribunal is accusing the 61-year-old lawmaker of fraud and other charges stemming from the financing of his 2010 political campaign. 

According to the daily La Nación, Orozco submitted a request to the TSE for $1.5 million in reimbursements for political campaign expenses. The TSE determined that Orozco was eligible for only $800,000 based on the number of votes his party received. In Costa Rica, political parties are partially reimbursed for money spent on political campaigns. The amount the government pays each party depends on the number of votes candidates receive.

The TSE found that Orozco inflated the amount the government owed the party on at least 19 “political bonds” his party traded for various electoral services, including transportation and consultation, La Nación reporterd. Orozco’s party promised holders of the bonds they could redeem them for cash after the elections concluded. In some cases, signatures on the bonds appeared to be forged.

The TSE reimbursed the party $62,000, a fraction of the total amount Orozco’s party claimed.

In comments to La Nación, Orozco, a former attorney, denied any wrongdoing because “most of the money was not reimbursed to us.” He also attributed the apparent forgery of donor signatures and attempts to defraud the government to atheists. “We wanted to open the party up a little [to more people], so we allowed in some non-believers [in God], and that could be why this is happening,” he told La Nación.

Although as a lawmaker Orozco enjoys immunity from prosecution, a formal investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office could trigger congressional proceedings to remove his immunity.

You may be interested

IMF approves $1.8 billion loan for Costa Rica
Costa Rica
1353 views
Costa Rica
1353 views

IMF approves $1.8 billion loan for Costa Rica

The Tico Times - March 1, 2021

The IMF approved a 36-month credit agreement for $1.778 billion dollars with Costa Rica, the entity reported Monday, which immediately…

Immigration to headline talks between Biden, Lopez Obrador
Guatemala
1037 views
Guatemala
1037 views

Immigration to headline talks between Biden, Lopez Obrador

AFP - March 1, 2021

The flow of migrants and trade, legal and illegal, across the US-Mexican border will be the focus Monday when President…

Costa Rica has administered nearly 150,000 vaccine doses
Costa Rica
16385 views
Costa Rica
16385 views

Costa Rica has administered nearly 150,000 vaccine doses

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 1, 2021

Costa Rica has administered 149,812 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the Presidency said Monday. The nearly 150,000 jabs mean…