San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

British Man Pleads Guilty to Bribing Costa Rican Officials

A former British insurance executive has pleaded guilty to paying nearly $2 million in bribes to win insurance contracts in Costa Rica, The Guardian reports.

Julian Messent, former CEO of PWS International, is accused of making 41 installments of bribes between 1999 and 2002 through the bank accounts of the wives of insurance officials in Costa Rica. The bribes were meant to retain insurance contracts from the state insurance agency Instituto Nacional de Seguros.

Serious Fraud Office, a London-based independent government agency that prosecuted the case, said it would not release the names of the Costa Rican officials involved as there are ongoing court proceedings in Costa Rica.

The conclusion of the case should be released on Tuesday.

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