Figueres testifies in legislative probe

February 9, 2015

For nearly two hours, ex-President José María Figueres (1994-1998) appeared before the Legislative Assembly’s Public Spending Commission, where he stated – as he has many times before – that he “has a clear conscience,” because he never committed a crime and was never formally charged by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

Figueres repeated statements he previously made, saying that he never received a request to appear before any legal authority for the events surrounding a $900,000 payment he received from telecommunications company Alcatel, which sought business in Costa Rica.

Roberto Hidalgo, a business partner, and former National Liberation Party General Secretary Carmen Valverde also received $900,000 for their participation in contract negotiations that helped secure a concession contract for Alcatel with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The contract involved upgrading cellphone services to GSM technology. The French company won a $149 million contract from ICE, and a second one in 2002 for $109 million.

“The accusations against me were based merely on newspaper clippings and gossip,” Figueres said in response to persistent questioning from lawmaker Walter Céspedes, of the Social Christian Unity Party, and others.

Céspedes told The Tico Times that he was “unsatisfied with Figueres’ answers,” as “all of [Figueres’] contracts were verbal, and he never signed any documents.”  Céspedes said the former president “deflected all questions” regarding criticisms that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office treated his case differently than the cases of former presidents Miguel Ángel Rodriguez (1998-2002) and Rafael Ángel Calderón (1990-1994), both sentenced for corruption in similar cases.

Lawmaker Yolanda Acuña of Citizen Action Party repeatedly stated that the Alcatel negotiations were part of a “corruption scheme.” In response, Figueres said he never participated in negotiations with Alcatel, and that he never spoke to any of ICE board members. “I was a hired as a consultant and that’s all I did,” he said.

You may be interested

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie
Keylor Navas
418 views
Keylor Navas
418 views

With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalie

AFP - December 11, 2017

Real Madrid's first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao's promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga,…

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it
The Tico Times
659 views
The Tico Times
659 views

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it

Katherine Stanley - December 11, 2017

In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
640 views
Events
640 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…