San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nature Air Shareholder Accused of Fraud

NATURE Air shareholder and naturalizedU.S. citizen Alex E. Khajavi is barredfrom leaving Costa Rica while investigatorsprobe allegations that he defrauded aninvestor in the national airline.U.S. investor and longtime CostaRica resident Joseph Hamilton filed acriminal complaint against Khajavi threemonths ago alleging that Khajavi dupedhim into pouring large sums of money –at least $700,000 – into the purchase andupkeep of the airline, formerly calledTravel Air, leading him to believeHamilton was a legal co-owner.Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ)raided the airline’s offices in Pavas, northof San José, led Khajavi out in handcuffsand confiscated computer equipment June8. He was released from detention a fewhours later, but is under court order toremain in the country for six months andsign in at the penal court in Pavas once amonth, according to Sandra Castro,spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch.Hamilton filed a complaint before theProsecutor’s Office in which he detailedthe events that culminated in the allegedfraud. He declined to speak to The TicoTimes about the case under advice fromhis lawyer, but Khajavi’s defense attorney,Adrian Bonilla, fielded questions aboutthe extent of the accusations.Hamilton, 84, a U.S. citizen who retiredto Costa Rica 21 years ago, hatched a planwith Khajavi to buy the airline in 2001.Initially, the two planned to become co-ownersof the business, each owning 50%of the shares of Travel Air, the name ofwhich they later changed to Nature Air,according to Bonilla. Hamilton accusedKhajavi of having tricked him out of ownershipof shares, for which Khajavi is underinvestigation, but Bonilla said Hamiltonvoluntarily gave up shares and becameKhajavi’s moneylender. Bonilla said theamount of money in question is around$700,000, possibly as much as $1 million,but he did not have the figure at hand.Khajavi issued a statement in whichhe called the problem a difference ofunderstanding of financial terms, and saidhe has the documents to prove what hisbusiness relationship with Hamilton was.Hamilton was Khajavi’s financier, whomhe has tried to repay several times, but,because of a “series of discrepancies,”they have been unable to reach an agreement,according to Khajavi.Bonilla told The Tico Times Khajaviknows he owes Hamilton money andwants to pay him back; the only dispute isover the amount.“He offered to pay Mr. Hamilton tothe last penny, in writing, but there is anargument over the interest rate and thefinal amount,” Bonilla said.

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