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Attorney General seeks $6 million in damages in insurance corruption case

June 24, 2015

The Public Ethics Office has cited “social harm” as the cause for seeking $6 million in damages allegedly caused by the corrupt handling of reinsurance policies by a London-based company, PWS, in favor of the Costa Rican National Insurance Institute (INS).

The ethics office, part of the government’s Attorney General’s office, represents the government of Costa Rica in a claim against 10 officials, including ex-President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (1998-2002), former INS Executive President Cristóbal Zawadsky, eight other government officials, and two companies.

A criminal court disclosed this week that preliminary hearings to determine if the case will go to trial will run from Sept. 9 to Oct. 31.

Prosecutors accused the defendants two years ago, but translation from English to Spanish of evidence brought from London delayed the process.

The case began after the discovery of apparent bribe payments of $2.1 million made ​​by PWS London between 1998 and 2002.

Cristian Arguedas, an attorney for Rodríguez, told the daily La Nación that his client is looking forward to preliminary hearings “where we are ready to present broad exculpatory evidence, which we expect to result in a full dismissal in favor of the ex-president.”

Last December, a court of appeals overturned a five-year conviction of Rodríguez and acquitted him on the charge of “instigating corruption” in a case of alleged influence-peddling with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute and French telecommunications giant Alcatel.

Along with ex-president Rodríguez and Zawadzki, the list of officials who will appear in preliminary hearings includes: Álvaro Antonio Acuña Prado, former head of reinsurance at INS, Zawadzki’s wife, Gilda Montes de Oca, and Acuña’s wife, Roxana Bogantes Cordero.

Also named are former Costa Rican Electricity Institute officials Ronald Bonilla Rodríguez, Porfirio Brenes Quesada, Antonio Corrales Moya, Ramón Lara Molinari and Roberto González Chinchilla.

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