The Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office conducted a raid on Thursday of the offices of the National Emergency Commission (CNE) as part of the investigation of traffic of influences linked to the import of Chinese cement.
Chief Prosecutor Emilia Navas explained that the goal of the operation, which was supported by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), was to search for evidence that two legislators pressured the CNE to grant three contracts to the companies of businessman Juan Carlos Bolaños during the administration of President Laura Chinchilla (2010–2014).
Bolaños is at the center of a scandal that has shaken the Costa Rican political world. He allegedly exerted pressure and granted favors in exchange for the authorization to import Chinese cement with multi-million dollar loans from public banks that were not subject to the usual regulations.
Police also raided the houses of the former legislators in question, Víctor Hugo Víquez of the National Liberation Party (PLN) and Walter Céspedes of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC).
The Chief Prosecutor said that the two men may have used their position as legislators to help Bolaños’s obtain three public contracts from the CNE.
Bolaños is being held in preventive prison along with six senior bank officials from the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) as part of the investigation.
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