Intelligence deputy chief ousted amid alleged funds scandal

November 21, 2008

A high official in Costa Rica´s Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS) was temporarily dismissed Thursday on suspicion of swiping online banking information and funds from private and corporate accounts, the government said.

On Wednesday, police raided the office of DIS Deputy Chief Roberto Guillén, who cannot return to his post “while the investigation involves him,” said a statement from the Presidency Ministry.

The Chief Prosecutor´s Office suspects Guillén, a DIS employee for more than 10 years, of “illicit association, using false documents, falsification of documents and major fraud,” according to a press release from the state prosecutor´s Technical Consultancy and International Relations Office.

Besides DIS, police on Wednesday also raided the information department at the government´s Casa Presidencial in search of e-mails to and from Guillén that may be connected to the scam, which amounted to at least $350,000 in stolen bank funds, reported the daily La Nación.

Police officials said 14 people and private firms, including a well-known hotel in the central Pacific town of Quepos, were robbed after alleged fraudsters broke into their bank accounts, obtaining secret information form the Web site, Datum.net, according to La Nación.

The Web site, according to its “about us” section online, is “a private information service that enables the process of investigating and gathering data about people and companies.”

Police suspect Guillén holds a password to the site.

The prosecutor´s office said it is not targeting DIS itself, rather “one of its functionaries,” said an office press release.

Vice Minister of Security José Torres, acting director of DIS, announced yesterday he will open a separate internal investigation into Guillén´s activities.

The probe will look into “specifically who had access to the code (to enter the Datum.net files), if it was just Señor Guillén or not,” Torres said.

Guillén was released yesterday from police custody and must sign in every 15 days as the judicial investigation continues.

Tico Times reporter Gillian Gillers contributed.

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