Milanes gets questions from his former investors

Former investors and lawyers got a chance to question Luis Milanes Monday, but there was no decision on his proposal to pay back those on whom he defaulted in 2002.

Milanes is the casino owner who has put forth an estimated $10 million in property to satisfy the claims and avoid going to trial for fraud.

Those who attended the conciliation hearing said that about 150 creditors were there and that Milanes sat on a platform and fielded questions. The bulk of the questions were technical and related to the trust agreement Milanes has proposed to satisfy his creditors. One women directed her questions amid tears.

He is believed to have defaulted on some $200 million when he closed up his Saving Unlimited operation in November 2002. Also there Monday were some of his associates and employees who also face charges in the case.

Some creditors wondered where the income from the many casinos run by Milanes figure into his buyout plan. Under Costa Rican law those accused of a crime can avoid trial if they can settle with those that are considered to have victimized.

Milanes returned to Costa Rica in June 2009, spent a night in jail and has been free tending to his many businesses since. Like other high-interest operations at the time, Milanes offered returns of some 3 to 4 percent a month. He said he was investing in his casinos.

Milanes claims that a former associate now in Europe has made off the with bulk of the money from investors.

The hearing lasted just the morning and has been scheduled to continue next week. There are about 500 persons listed as victims in the Savings Unlimited collapse, but many are in other countries. The majority are not listed in the case because they lacked the money, the desire or the time to present their claims earlier.

Many have simply written off their losses. Others do not speak Spanish, live in the United States or elsewhere and have no idea on how to press their case.

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