San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Prosecutor tells lawmakers of unusual phone calls in Arias case

Public Prosecutor Emilia Navas testified this week that she received a phone call from Public Security Minister Jose María Tijerino while she was investigating former Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias, the politically powerful brother of former President Oscar Arias, last year.

On Wednesday, Navas appeared before a special legislative commission that is investigating whether Rodrigo Arias used his political influence to persuade Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría to stop an ongoing investigation against him. The investigation was to look into whether the former presidency minister had mismanaged or misappropriated $2 million in funds that the Central American Economic Integration Bank donated to the Costa Rica government in 2008.

Navas said that Tijerino called her to inquire why the investigation was still moving forward. If it happened, that call would have taken place in October 2010.

“In my 22 years at this job, never before has any political figure called me to inquire about an open case,” she told lawmakers.

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