Trial proceedings against Osvaldo Villalobos – accused of fraud, money laundering and illegal financial intermediation – continued this week with witness testimony and one witness arrested. The proceedings, which are open to the public but have drawn little attendance, were also moved from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) auditorium to a smaller, standard courtroom (Sala 3) in the Prosecutor’s Office building in downtown San José.
Former employees and clients of Osvaldo and his fugitive brother Luis Enrique Villalobos, as well as OIJ officials and others, gave their versions of the workings of Osvaldo’s currency exchange business Ofinter S.A. and “The Brothers” – a high-yield investment operation run out of the same offices as Ofinter.
Former Ofinter Manager Guillermo Angulo was arrested after taking the stand last Friday for allegedly giving false testimony under oath. Angulo was released later that day, under orders to sign in with the Judicial Branch every two weeks and not leave the country while he is investigated further.
The prosecution alleges that Osvaldo was involved in The Brothers, which closed after government raids in 2002 leaving thousands of investors clamoring for their money (TT, July 12, 2002). Osvaldo insists his money exchange was legitimate, and he had nothing to do with the unregistered investment operation.