Criminal magistrate will study allegations against lawmaker

A Sala III magistrate will study allegations against a sitting legislative deputy to determine if a criminal case will proceed.

That was the word Tuesday form the Poder Judicial.

Costa Rican law outlines a special process for high-level officials who are accused of criminal activity.

In this case, the accused is Jorge Alberto Angulo Mora, a Partido Liberación Nacional lawmaker from Puntarenas. Jorge Chavarría, the fiscal general, outlined allegations against Angulo Tuesday before the Corte Suprema de Justicia. The president of the court, Luis Paulino Mora, remanded the case to the Sala Tercera, the high criminal court. One of the decisions will be if the court will lift the legislative immunity of Angulo. He seems to have made clear that he would surrender his immunity to prosecution if charges were brought.

However, he said he would continue to hold office.

He is accused of influence peddling and using his office to benefit himself. There also is an allegation of extortion among the seven specific charges that Chavarría brought.

The legislator has been under investigation for months.

The initial allegations grew out of news articles in La Nación. Among these was one report that the Junta de Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur, an anti-poverty agency that runs the tax-free Deposito in Golfito, paid for his stay at a luxury hotel in the southern zone.

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