Loans trigger raids involving Palmares bank branch

A series of sweetheart loans that violated bank policy resulted in raids last week in Grecia, Naranjo and Guanacaste. Involved are four employees of the Banco Nacional in Palmares. The bank said in a statement that the loans were for the purchase of lots from a single developer. Those loans were made in 2006 and 2007, said the bank.

When some of the lot purchasers defajulted on their loans, it was the bank that reported the case to prosecutors, it said.

Although the Judicial Investigating Organization said that the investigation was into a 15 billion colon fraud against the bank, the bank said in a second statement that that amount was the total amount loaned to 500 bank customers and not the amount that was in default.

The actual amount will not be known until the investigation is complete, said the bank. Some borrowers already have reached an accommodation with the bank, it said. Judicial agents said that eight persons had been detained.

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