Costa RIca to funnel $11 million settlement into public programs

March 12, 2010

Costa Rica´s attorney general said French telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent has followed through with a payment of $11 million last week to settle a corruption case in Costa Rica.

Alcatel deposited the funds on March 9 in payment for “societal damages” – money the attorney general said should be funneled into public programs. This would help pay society back after the French company allegedly paid kickbacks to former President Miguel Angel Rodríguez and other government officials in return for a 2001 contract to provide cellular phone equipment here.

“We confirm the deposit of money and we´ve sent a note to the head of the Finance Ministry to inform them of the transaction,” Attorney General Ana Lorena Brenes said in a statement issued Friday. She added that her office is recommending that government officials spend this money with “the interest of the collective” in mind. “We would expect that it is invested in projects that have a direct impact on the population,” Brenes said.

Payment for societal damages is a recent concept in Costa Rica and is rare throughout Latin America, according to the attorney general. “(Societal damages) confirm recognition by a company or individual that they participated in acts of corruption that affect the collective,” said Brenes.

The settlement came as former President Rodríguez, who was in office from 1998 to 2002, prepares to go to trial for corruption after allegedly taking kickbacks from Alcatel to help secure a 2001 contract for the French company to supply cellular phone equipment here.

Rodríguez was expected to attend a preliminary hearing on Monday, but the court date was suspended after the judges received new evidence in the case, the newswire EFE reported.

The ICE-Alcatel trial, which is scheduled to begin on April 13, will be the second time a former Costa Rican president is placed on trial on criminal charges. Former President Rafael Angel Calderón was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement last October.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Trump: US to begin cutting aid to Central America over migrant caravan
immigration
1328 views
immigration
1328 views

Trump: US to begin cutting aid to Central America over migrant caravan

AFP - October 23, 2018

President Donald Trump said Monday the United States will begin cutting aid to three Central American nations because of their…

The Tico Times Dispatch: An interview with journalist and economist David Ching
Politics
680 views
Politics
680 views

The Tico Times Dispatch: An interview with journalist and economist David Ching

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 23, 2018

Costa Rica’s Plenary Court rejected the proposed tax reform bill last week and asked that four sections of the initiative…

Soy pico rojo: the new form of protest in Nicaragua
La Prensa
905 views
La Prensa
905 views

Soy pico rojo: the new form of protest in Nicaragua

La Prensa - October 23, 2018

Social media has been filled with photos of men and women wearing red lipstick as a way of protest Daniel…