Prosecutors want to halt Rodrigo Arias fraud case

The Poder Judicial said Tuesday that prosecutors have decided that there is not enough proof to continue a fraud case against Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, brother of the former president.

The decision will have to be approved by a judge.

Arias served as minister of the Presidencia to his brother, a position similar to chief of staff.

During the campaign to win approval of the free trade treaty with the United States, the administration accepted $2 million off the books from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica.

They used this money to hire 84 persons who they called consultants. Among these was the leader of a political party that strongly opposed the treaty.

There was no public announcement of the contracts nor were they advertised as most government jobs are. The Spanish-language daily La Nación discovered the secret deals and wrote about them. The bulk of the consultants had to surrender their jobs and much of the money was not paid.

All along the Arias brothers contended that the money from the development bank was not public funds. They considered the bank funds to be a private donation.

The Poder Judicial said that the prosecutors ended the investigation due to lack of proof that supported the original hypothesis. The case and a private action will be heard in a preliminary hearing in the Juzgado Penal de Hacienda del II Circuito Judicial de San José.

Rodrigo Arias, of course, is a candidate for the presidency in 2014.

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