San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Finnish Government to Investigate Caja Scandal

THE Finnish Foreign Ministry hasordered that nation’s police to investigatethe alleged participation of the Finnishbusiness Instrumentarium in the largestcorruption case in the history of CostaRica, the Finnish television station YLEreported.Instrumentarium is accused ofinvolvement in the distribution of commissionsfrom the subsidized $30.5 millionloan Finland gave to the Costa RicanSocial Security System (Caja) in 2001 forthe purchase of medical equipment.The Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Officesuspects that almost $8 million of thisloan was distributed as “commissions”for politicians and public officials, includingex-President Rafael Angel Calderón(1990-1994) and former Caja head EliseoVargas.The Finnish Foreign Ministry orderedthe investigation after the Finnish stationran a report Tuesday night denouncing thealleged participation of Instrumentarium inthe distribution of the commissions.The multinational firm GeneralElectric, owner of Instrumentarium,denied in a statement released yesterdaythat the directors of the Finnish companyhad authorized the payment of these commissions.The Finnish government acts as theguarantor for the loan that was given tothe Caja by way of a fund for developmentcooperation.

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