Some expat investors with the failed Saving Unlimited are pleased that the Spanish-language La Nación has begun reporting on the convoluted circumstances involved in the case.
Reporter David Delgado published three stories Wednesday and there is more today. He has spent several weeks working on the stories.
Some expats have long been concerned by what they see as special treatment afforded Luis Milanes, the operator of the high-interest firm. Milanes continues to operate casinos in the metro area.
The expats are those who have entered into an agreement with Milanes under the sponsorship of the courts. The plan is that they will get back some of their money from property that Milanes has signed over. In exchange, Milanes will face many fewer accusers when and if he goes to trial.
The special treatment appears to have begun in 2008 when Milanes returned to Costa Rica after six years of being a fugitive. He spent a night in a cell and then was left free because he embargoed some of his property here in favor of the courts.
Since then the situation has been a roller coaster ride for the estimated 500 investors who accepted the deal. Central to the deal is the Hotel Europa downtown. A court appraiser said the structure was worth more than $6 million. A.M. Costa Rica questioned the appraisal. So far the hotel has not been the subject of any offers, and the trust company handling the deal has not been vigorous in marketing it. Apparently there are no financial records of the operating hotel in which Milanes has one of his casinos.
Some of the more outspoken expats hope that publication in the Spanish language newspaper will have an effect on what appears to be a lethargic judicial system. The next hearing in the case is supposed to be in October. The case has gone through a handful of judges and prosecutors.
Savings Unlimited left creditors hanging to the tune of $200 million when Milanes fled. He styled his operation after the infamous Villalobos brothers and offered investors a high monthly interest. He said he was investing in the casinos, but the casinos are not part of the court deal.
Many Milanes associates already have settled their cases, even though some have served prison time.