Ex-President’s Trial Marred By Threats, Accusations

April 24, 2009

The case against former president Rafael Angel Calderón has reached some pivotal days in the now six-month-long trial, with reports of masked men threatening a witness with a revolver and accusations of lies.

Calderón, who is currently being tried on charges of aggravated corruption, is at the center of the 300-witness trial, accused of bribing public officials to secure a deal with a Finnish medical supply company.

The charges were leveled in 2004, nine years after Calderón left office. The former president has since completed a series of preventive detention terms, both at his home and in a state penitentiary.

In surprise testimony, Walter Reiche, who was the Costa Rican representative of the Finnish company Medko Medical Instrumentarium, said that he paid Calderon money not for “policy advice,” but to ensure and expedite two contracts for $39.5 million to the Finnish firm.

This week, Calderón told local media, “Seven times throughout the years (Reiche) said one thing. Today, he says another. Why? That is what the country should be asking.”

According to Calderón, Reiche had always said the money was for consulting advice, but in his testimony, which has lasted more than a week, Reiche said he referred to the money as payment for a consultation because he was hiding a crime, the daily La Nación reported.

Reiche said, “The truth is there was no consultation, no work documents, no bill or receipt for the payments or a formal contract.”

While Reiche and Calderón trade two sides of the story, another story is unfolding behind the scenes.

According to newspaper reports, an accountant poised to give a testimony relating to the financial harm of the corruption charges on the Social Security System (CCSS), was approached by two men at 9 p.m. what day? and told not to testify. The men took off with two portable laptops.

Reiche said last week he was the victim of a recent assassination attempt.

–Chrissie Long

 

You may be interested

5 questions for US painter Suzahn King
Weekend Arts Spotlight
124 views
Weekend Arts Spotlight
124 views

5 questions for US painter Suzahn King

Elizabeth Lang - May 20, 2018

Suzahn King's paintings, known for their intricate details, are currently focused on her surroundings in Costa Rica, a country she…

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind
Artists
285 views
Artists
285 views

Jean Marc Calvet, part III: Leaving Marco behind

Elizabeth Lang - May 18, 2018

This is the story of Nicaraguan-based French artist Jean Marc Calvet: a man whose complex life, obscurities and misfortunes overwhelmed…

Traditional masks
Tico Times Pic of the Day
303 views
Tico Times Pic of the Day
303 views

Traditional masks

The Tico Times - May 18, 2018

Creating masks out of balsa wood, carved by their own hands and based on the their community's traditions, the Brunca…