• Costa Rica Real Estate

Costa Rica’s Grupo Nación closes three publications, lays off 100 workers

November 13, 2014

Costa Rica’s daily La Nación on Thursday reported on its website a “restructuring of the business model of its parent corporation Grupo Nación (GN), which includes the closure of two daily newspapers and one magazine, and the dismissal of 100 employees.”

Its new daily print newspaper Ahora, which was launched just four months ago, will publish its last edition on Saturday, Nov.15. The sports daily Al Día will print its final issue on Nov. 30. The last edition of architecture and urbanism magazine Su Casa will circulate in December, Grupo Nación confirmed in a press release on its corporate website.

The news was disclosed shortly after Grupo Nación announced it had reached an agreement with government officials to end an investigation into alleged tax fraud involving the sale of two printing presses.

The agreement already has been registered in the records of the General Superintendency of Securities and indicates that Grupo Nación on Wednesday paid ₡1.3 billion ($2.4 million) in back taxes, which adds to the ₡904 million ($1.7 million) the group paid in 2005, for a total payment of ₡2.2 billion ($4.1 million).

Grupo Nación expects a criminal court in Goicoechea to “dismiss all criminal actions under investigation for alleged tax dodging,” La Nación reported on Thursday evening.

Grupo Nación attorney Carlos Tiffer told the daily that he is satisfied with the conclusion of the legal process, “especially because no crime was attributed, which is what we have been arguing from the beginning.”

The investigation against Costa Rica’s largest media group began in 2004 following allegations that La Nación S.A. – represented by Grupo Nación CEO Manuel Francisco Jiménez – had falsified a $2 million sale of two old and depreciated printing presses to Capital Leasing Corporation, a business group owned by Jiménez’s cousin Carlos González Jiménez.

Jiménez said Grupo Nación “has always been a responsible corporate citizen, regarded throughout history as one of the major tax contributors in the country; and it always will remain within that tradition.”

“Moving forward we will focus on the multimedia development of our newspapers La Nación, El Financiero and La Teja, our magazines Perfil and Sabores, and our radio and printing businesses,” the press release stated. The corporation currently employs 1,294 workers in several companies, according to the group’s website.

Earlier this year, Grupo Nación announced the acquisition of La Guácima speedway, a project scheduled to open next March as an events and entertainment complex.

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