San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Investigators raid Finance Ministry offices

Agents from Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on Monday raided Finance Ministry offices in San José. Prosecutors from the Economic Crimes section of the OIJ ordered the raid, which was conducted by seven agents looking for evidence of unauthorized access to private tax information.

The police raid follows a complaint filed April 17 by the Finance Ministry against 12 of its own officials, whose names and positions remain a secret, the daily La Nación reported.

Finance Vice Minister Rowland Howell said in a press release the complaint was made under Article 281 of the Criminal Penal Code, which requires public officials to denounce crimes encountered at work.

Howell has a certification from the ministry’s IT department that states “apparently, there are several cases of unlawful access to confidential tax information.”

Ex-Finance Minister Fernando Herrero and his wife, former presidential adviser Flor Isabel Rodríguez, resigned their public posts on April 2 after La Nación reported they had underpaid property taxes and their company had under-declared income to the Tax Administration.

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