More complexity develops in Crucitas blame game

The Crucitas case became even more complex Thursday when an untraceable email with wide distribution accused another Sala Primera magistrate of having leaked a draft of a proposed decision on the northern Costa Rica open pit mine project.

The magistrate, Román Solís, participated in an afternoon press conference in which he strongly denied any participation in the leak. He said the persons who did the email were trying to destroy the Poder Judicial. Many workers there got the same email, as did A.M. Costa Rica editors. The message seems to have come from a fictitious server and carried the name of an unknown entity, the Grupo Institucionalidad Costa Rica.

Anabelle León, president of the Sala Primera, accompanied Solís at the press conference. Contrary to what the email message reported, Solís said he has had nothing to do with the draft of the decision on an appeal by Industrias Infinito S.A. of a lower court ruling annulling the firm’s mining concession. He said Carmen María Escoto, another magistrate, was in charge of preparing the decision.

Solís said he contacted prosecutors and asked for an investigation of the email.

At the legislature Thursday, Néstor Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, a lawmaker with the Partido Acción Ciudadana, said he was livid and embarrassed about the Crucitas mining scandal. He spoke at the afternoon meeting of the full body. He called the incident a tragedy. He also said that foreign investment is bad for the country at this moment.

Infinito is a local subsidiary of a Canadian mining firm. Prosecutors also are looking into who delivered copies of the proposed court decision to lawyers and company officials of Infinito and the Canadian parent company.

The Poder Judicial said Wednesday that the nation’s chief prosecutor had summoned a former Sala Primera magistrate to appear to give statement.

The former magistrate is Moisés Fachler, a politically connected lawyer. He denies that he is the person who leaked the document. A former employee of Industrias Infinito S.A. was the whistle blower in the case but he did not name the magistrate in public. The former employee said he was at a meeting when a magistrate turned over copies of the decision.

The Poder Judicial characterized Fachler as a suspect in an investigation of divulging secrets and of failing to do his duties. Both are criminal allegations. Fachler quit as a replacement magistrate Monday.

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