Trial court finds ex-president Rodríguez guilty

A trial court Wednesday found former president Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría guilty of instigating a kickback scheme and sentenced him to five years in prison. The same tribunal also found him innocent of the allegation of illegal enrichment.

A variety of allegations were affirmed against eight other defendants with one getting 15 years on two charges.

The court also said that Rodríguez could not hold a public job for 12 years.

The court also awarded money damages against the
defendants, mostly in favor of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

This is the case that involved allegations of bribes by the cell telephone firm Alcatel which sought to sell its products to the electrical institute in 2002. The contract was for 400,000 cell lines.

The reading of the abbreviated verdict was delayed by problems with the courtroom’s sound equipment for about 15 minutes.

The three-judge panel rejected a number of objections filed by defense lawyers. Appeals are likely.

A full story will be published in the Thursday edition.

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