Prosecutors will appeal decision in Rodríguez bribery case

Prosecutors will appeal the case of former president Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and others convicted in the Alcatel bribery case to the Sala I high criminal court.

That was the report late Friday after a criminal appeals court threw out the conviction of Rodríguez and six others. Also beneficiaries of the decision were Guido Sibaja Fonseca, Joaquín Alberto Fernández Alfaro, Eduardo Fonseca García, Luis Adrián Quirós Carmona, Édgar Valverde Acosta and Eliseo Vargas García.

Rodríguez faced a five-year prison term.

The Poder Judicial distributed the conclusions of the appeals court Friday, but the full decision is awaited. The Tribunal de Apelaciones de Goicoechea has been studying the case for more than a year.

The allegation was that Rodríguez orchestrated a scheme to
extort money from Alcatel in exchange for granting the firm a contract for 400,000 cell telephone lines. An Alcatel executive in the United States had been convicted in the scheme under U.S. law and provided testimony in the trial here.

The decision by the appeals court appears to be based on technicalities of how evidence about bank accounts was gathered by prosecutors in Panamá. Apparently some of the suspect accounts became known while prosecutors were investigating an unrelated case against former president Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier.

The evidence shows that money from Alcatel flowed into accounts in Panamá and then to Costa Rica.

Rodríguez had to step down as secretary general of the Organization of American States when the case became know.

He has maintained his innocence and even wrote a book about the case. He claims he was the victim of a vendetta by prosecutors.

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