Seven months after aspiring soccer mogul Matteo Quintavalle was arrested by police for alleged real estate fraud, no formal charges have been filed.
And it is unclear why.
“We can’t speak to the press and our files are not open to the public,” Prosecutor José Martínez said.
The prosecutor acknowledged an investigation is ongoing but he said he doesn’t know when charges would be filed. He also said he’d been waiting more than a month for more evidence to be provided by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Pavas Criminal Court Judge Ericka Chaves freed Quintavalle from preventive prison in December for health reasons (TT, Dec. 14, 2007). Under court rules, he is still required to check in with the court every 15 days.
According to media reports, Quintavalle has type-II diabetes and was scheduled to receive a gastrointestinal bypass operation, or tummy tuck.
Martínez appealed the judge’s decision but that appeal has yet to be resolved. Some of the investors who claim Quintavalle swindled them say they are fed up with the slow pace of Costa Rican justice.
They also believe Quintavalle is out spending their money.
Mike Kaufman, an investor from the U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, said he invested $155,000 for real estate ventures through his investment counselor, Christopher Coulther, who then did business with Quintavalle and was also under investigation.
“The deal down there is I’d like to get my money back and have him in jail for the rest of his life,” Kaufman said. “While he’s out of jail, he’s spending our money. Every day that goes by, we’re losing the battle. If he’s not sitting in a jail cell, there’s no pressure on him.”
According to Supreme Court spokeswoman María Isabel Hernández, lawyers representing Quintavalle already offered the complainants a settlement but they declined.
However, Adrián Bonilla, one of those lawyers, denied any settlement had been offered.
A group of 17 U.S. investors filed a criminal complaint against Quintavalle in April, alleging he defrauded them of millions of dollars involving the sales of hotels in Quepos on the central Pacific coast. Kaufman said he was not one of the original 17. But he said he has since been added.
While the case against Quintavalle languishes here, authorities in Santa Clara County, California, would love it if he would show up there.