La Nación Investigated For Alleged Tax Evasion

February 25, 2005

THE General Taxation Administrationis investigating the daily La Nación, oneof the country’s largest newspapers, forpossible tax evasion.A Legislative Assembly commissionis also examining the case.According to La Nación, it sold one ofits printing presses for $2 million to theBelizean company Capital LeasingCorporation in September 2001, then rentedthe equipment from Capital Leasing for$97,091 per month. Capital Leasing latersold it to another company, ArrendoraInterfín S.A., from which La Nación rentedthe press for $80,883 per month.Tax authorities say there are discrepanciesbetween the amounts reported bythe paper and those it reported to thirdparties regarding the sale and lease. TheSecond Circuit Penal Court of San Joséordered the paper to open its bankaccounts to investigators.The assembly’s Public ExpendituresCommission plans to request the appearanceof tax authorities and others relatedto the case.Libertarian Movement Party legislatorPeter Guevara said he opposes this.“I don’t believe it is proper that weinvolve ourselves in investigation the functioningof a private business,” he said.Patriotic Bloc legislator HumbertoArce called the allegations “an opportunity…for La Nación to be investigated inthe same way it investigates (others),” butemphasized the importance of “being verycareful (to ensure) this is not used for anyvendetta, since we all know the denunciationsthat the paper has made.”La Nación helped uncover alleged governmentcorruption in 2004, which eventuallyresulted in the arrest of two formerPresidents and a host of other public officialson allegations of illicit enrichment.

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