San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hearings start against Costa Rica's ex-President Rodríguez


Preliminary court hearings began yesterday against Miguel Angel Rodríguez, Costa Rican president from 1998 to 2002, in an alleged corruption scandal involving French cell phone company Alcatel and national telecom monopoly the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).
The hearings could continue for several weeks to determine if the case goes on to a trial for aggravated corruption and illicit enrichment for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands in handouts from Alcatel.
Alcatel obtained a $149 million government contract in 2001 to provide GSM cell phone services to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).
This week’s hearings began despite former President Rodríguez’s defense lawyers request to throw out the case, citing preferential treatment toward José Antonio Lobo, who became a key witness when he confessed to receiving more than $550,000 in payoffs from Alcatel in 2002.

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