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Monday, May 20, 2024

Costa Rican prosecutors, judicial police under investigation for alleged use of police database to probe personal information of superstar goalie Keylor Navas

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas became a global superstar in sports this year following his stellar performance at the World Cup in Brazil, his signing with the legendary football club Real Madrid, and a nod this week with Spain’s Best Goalkeeper award for the 2013-2014 season. But a bizarre case back home involving illegal prying into his personal life by law enforcement officials has him in the spotlight again, for all the wrong reasons.

Costa Rican Supreme Court justices on Tuesday ordered the country’s chief prosecutor, Jorge Chavarría, and the director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Francisco Segura, to explain why 24 OIJ agents and four prosecutors searched a police database a total of 51 times for personal information on Navas and two of his sisters earlier this year. Most of the searches occurred during the World Cup months of June and July, and when Navas signed a contract with Real Madrid in August.

While most – if not all – of the information was public, such as personal phone and property records, officials confirmed this week that the judicial branch has no open investigation of Navas, meaning there is no legal justification for the snooping by law enforcement employees. The database on which the information is stored is protected by law from unwarranted access.

“We have no reason to investigate Keylor Navas or any of his relatives. We don’t know why these people did this,” Segura said at a press conference.

The Police Information Platform, as the database is named, contains information on all citizens. From June to October, law enforcement and judicial employees accessed it 42 times to search for personal information on Navas. Seven queries searched his sister’s name, Keilyn Navas, 25, and two searched his other sister, Kimberly Navas, 18, Segura admitted in a press conference Tuesday following the court action.

Supreme Court President Zarela Villanueva on Tuesday called the scandal “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”

“There is no justification for the use of agency resources to probe the private lives of people who are not under police investigation,” she said, before ordering an investigation and disciplinary measures against those who carried out the searches – whose names will be readily available to investigators.

Chavarría said criminal charges could be pending.

According to Segura, an official file ordering a criminal investigation on a suspect must be created before law enforcement employees can access someone’s personal information on the database. That would mean that judicial employees likely created fake case files to access the information on Navas and his family.

One line of investigation is if employees planned to use the information to commit a crime. When Navas signed with Real Madrid, his annual salary jumped from €250,000 ($317,000) at Levante to €2.5 million ($3.1 million) with Real Madrid.

Navas has not yet commented on the scandal, because he is playing in a match today in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) against Cornellá. The game had just started at 1 p.m., Costa Rica time, at the time of this posting.

Stay tuned for updates.

L. Arias
L. Arias
Reporter | The Tico Times |

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