Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Court of appeals overturns conviction of ex-president Miguel Ángel Rodríguez

November 21, 2014

A court of appeals Friday overturned the conviction of ex-Costa Rican President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (1998-2002) and acquitted him on the charge of “instigating corruption” in a case of influence peddling with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute and French telecommunications giant Alcatel.

Rodríguez was sentenced on April 27, 2011, to five years in prison and was banned from serving in public office for 12 years. He never served any time in prison, while the appeal was reviewed.

The court also exonerated the 20-year-sentence of Édgar Valverde, former Alcatel manager, and the two-year-sentence of lawyer Eliseo Vargas.

ICE officials Luis Adrián Quirós (sentenced to 15 years) and Eduardo Fonseca (2 years) also were acquitted because judges considered that “the evidence against them was improperly obtained.”

In 2004, shortly after he took office as Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Rodríguez returned home to face the accusations against him.

On May 25, 2011, the court found that ICE officials were guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding 400,000 GSM cellphone lines to Alcatel, and that Rodríguez instigated the exchange.

Rodríguez was the second former president convicted of corruption in Costa Rica. Rafael Ángel Calderón (1990-1994) was convicted in an embezzlement case.

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