Former environment minister faces corruption allegations over controversial gold mine concession
Former Environment Minister Roberto Dobles (2006-2010), right, and his lawyer, Laureano Castro, appeared in a Goicoechea court on Monday, Oct. 27, along with six other defendants to stand trial for an alleged conflict of interest in granting Infinito Gold an open-pit gold mining concession in Las Crucitas, in northern Costa Rica. The concession allowed the British Columbia-based mining company to extract 1 million grams of gold, estimated at the time to be worth some $2 billion. An appeals court ruled the concession invalid in November 2010. The Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Dobles and his co-defendants knowingly violated Costa Rican environmental laws when they approved the project in 2008. Dobles took the stand Tuesday, declaring that all the documents he signed were above board and that the allegations were absurd. The trial is expected to last through Dec. 19.
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