Security Minister Undergoes Tax Probe

September 14, 2007

Costa Rica’s tax authority is investigating Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal for $375,000 he received in July of last year and reported to the Comptroller’s Office but allegedly only partially reported to tax authorities.

Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) legislators Ana Elena Chacón and Bienvenido Venegas both called for Berrocal to be temporarily removed from his position while he is investigated, and requested that the Arias administration’s Ethics Commission as well as the Chief Prosecutor’s Office investigate Berrocal.

Berrocal said in a statement that he paid more than enough taxes on his taxable income, and that perhaps the confusion is that the $375,000 he declared with the Comptroller – as required under Costa Rica’s relatively new Law against Corruption and Illicit Enrichment – was income of his law firm, and not all of it is his.

“I have absolutely nothing to hide,” Berrocal said in a press release.

The Costa Rican Tax Administration opened up an investigation into Berrocal’s tax declaration last month, the daily La Nación reported.

Opposition legislators estimated that the Minister should have to pay some $40,000 on the income he allegedly failed to declare.

Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese said Wednesday that state prosecutors haven’t determined yet whether the complaint merits an investigation, and Casa Presidencial spokesman Esteban Arrieta wasn’t able to confirm whether the Ethics Commission would investigate the issue as of press time.

 

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