San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

President Chinchilla's brother denies involvement in border road scandal

“I was never part of any commission to advise or make decisions on the border road project,” Adrián Chinchilla, President Laura Chinchilla’s brother and a former adviser, told lawmakers on Tuesday during a Legislative Assembly commission investigating irregularities in the construction of a road along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua.

Two other presidential advisers, Carlos Espinach and Federico Baltodano, also attended the probe.

Adrián Chinchilla said he never participated in decisions regarding Juan Rafael Mora 1856 Road, and that he only held informal talks regarding infrastructure. He said he was “the victim of malicious statements.”

Espinach and Adrián Chinchilla then presented a copy of a letter they sent to the president of the Assembly, Victor Emilio Granados, asking him to expedite the process of lifting the immunity of Social Christian Unity Party lawmaker Wálter Céspedes in order to file a lawsuit against him, claiming that “he is responsible for making statements that linked [Chinchilla and other advisers] with decisions made on the border route project.”

They also presented copies of retraction letters for similar statements made by La Nación journalist Vanessa Loaiza and former Culture Vice Minister Karina Bolaños.

Route 1856 is a 160-kilometer road that runs along Río San Juan on the border with Nicaragua, ordered by President Chinchilla to provide local residents with a transit route and an access road for police, following a dispute with Nicaragua over navigation rights on the river.

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