Agents search Escazú home of former minister of finance

Judicial agents late Thursday afternoon searched the San Rafael de Escazú home of former finance minister Fernando Herrero. They confiscated a portable computer as evidence, said the Poder Judicial.

Teams of agents also entered the offices of the Procesos firm in Sabana Sur and also of Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo in Calle Blanco.

This was part of the investigation for possible trafficking of influence. The searches began at 8:30 a.m. coordinated by the Fiscalía de Probidad, Transparencia y Anticorrupción, the anti-corruption prosecutor. The raid at the Herrero home was at 5:30 p.m.
In just three short weeks Herrero and his wife, Flor Isabel Rodríguez, have gone from being leading members of the Laura Chinchilla administration to suspects.

The investigation stems from a contract awarded without formal bidding to the Procesos by the state refining agency. A handful of top officials wrote letters endorsing the firm, founded by Herrero and now run by his wife. She was a former aide to the president until the daily La Nación disclosed late last month that the couple had understated the value of an Escazú rental property for 10 years. Then there was additional tax problems and now the issue with the refinery contract and another one in the neighborhood of $800,000 with the education ministry.

The Poder Judicial said that agents sequestered documents during their searches.

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