Trial opens in corruption case against ex-Costa Rican president

October 31, 2008

The state opened its case yesterday against Rafael Angel Calderón, Jr., the first former president to be tried on corruption charges in Costa Rica.

Calderón, who was president from 1990 to 1994, is facing charges that he accepted kickbacks for helping a Finnish medical equipment firm sell goods worth $39.5 million to the Caja, the national public health care system.

“Finally, the truth can come out,” said Calderón, who maintains his innocence and has expressed interest in running for president in 2010 on the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) ticket. “The final ruling will bring peace to our household.”

The case is important, said prosecutor Juan Carlos Cubillo, because it reflects that Costa Rican law applies equally to all citizens, including leading politicians.

Seven others face charges for their involvement in the scheme, including Eliseo Vargas, a former lawmaker and ex-president of the Caja, and Walter Reiche, former president of Fischel Corp., which represents the Finnish firm in Costa Rica.

More than 300 witnesses will testify in a three-judge trial that could last up to 18 months, according to estimates by lawyers. Barring Friday afternoons, arguments take place every day from 8 a.m. through late afternoon, with two hours for lunch.

“The last time I had to follow a schedule was in the university,” Calderón said. “It´s not every day that a former head of state stands trial.”

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Buchón cantina: Spritz cocktails to dine for
Dining and Nightlife
380 views
Dining and Nightlife
380 views

Buchón cantina: Spritz cocktails to dine for

Natalia Díaz - October 18, 2018

Buchón was the first place I tasted the Aperol Spritz, months before it became fashionable around San José. In fact,…

Tico Times Shade: What does ‘middle class’ mean in Costa Rica?
Tico Times Shade
1151 views
Tico Times Shade
1151 views

Tico Times Shade: What does ‘middle class’ mean in Costa Rica?

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 18, 2018

It’s not often The Tico Times writes an explainer about basic Costa Rican daily living that’s equally surprising to a…

Costa Rica grants asylum to Nicaraguan activist Alvaro Leiva
News
561 views
News
561 views

Costa Rica grants asylum to Nicaraguan activist Alvaro Leiva

AFP - October 18, 2018

Costa Rica granted the Nicaraguan human rights activist Alvaro Leiva political asylum last week. Leiva is the secretary of the…