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Chief Prosecutor’s Office accuses three lawmakers of violating electoral laws

February 26, 2013

Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría on Tuesday said he had filed charges against three lawmakers from the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) for alleged offenses committed during 2010 elections.

The charges for allegedly receiving illegal donations were filed against lawmakers Oscar Alfaro, Antonio Calderón and Alicia Fournier.

In a press conference Chavarría said Costa Rica’s Electoral Code prohibits political parties from accepting donations from corporations (known in Costa Rica as Sociedades Anónimas, or S.A.).

According to Chavarría, one of the donations involves a building used as the headquarters of the PLN – known as “Balcón Verde” – which was registered in the name of a corporation.

Lawmakers Fournier and Calderón were accused because they belonged to the PLN executive committee at the time the donation was received. Calderón and Alfaro were charged because a corporation they represent donated a rental house that was used as an office for the 2010 presidential campaign.

Chavarría said the complaints will be sent to the Attorney General’s Office to assess whether a civil trial will proceed to claim damages against the state, and to the Penal Branch of the Supreme Court to assess whether the lawmakers’ immunity can be revoked in order to face criminal prosecution.

President Laura Chinchilla declined to comment on the investigation, until she can read the full document, but requested lawmakers “to offer full cooperation.”

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