Guanacaste developer detained briefly in fraud case

Judicial agents briefly detained Craig Williamson, the real estate developer behind a purported billion dollar project in Guanacaste, because he failed to appear in court to answer a fraud charge.

A prosecutor released Williamson Wednesday afternoon a few hours after the initial arrest once court officials fixed a new preliminary hearing for Oct. 16, Williamson said via a call from his cell phone. According to the arrest warrant, Williamson faces a criminal charge of fraud.

The prosecuting lawyer in the case, Juan Francisco Ruíz, said that Williamson failed to show up for multiple hearings, including the most recent one July 22. The arrest warrant was issued that day.

Williamson is working with Frank Biden, younger brother of the U. S. vice president, on a massive development in Libería that has blueprints promising multiple casinos, hotels, and a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.

In mid-June Williamson said a major announcement on the project would be made on July 2. However no word came of breaking ground for the long-stalled construction. The developer said he and his associates had to postpone again and that Wednesday’s detention will not affect the Guanacaste Country Club, the name for the supposed $921 million project.

When reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, Biden said he was unaware of Williamson’s arrest but that it “absolutely” does not endanger the country club’s construction. He declined to comment any further on the state of the country club until he could talk to Williamson.

“I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all of this,” Biden said from the United States by telephone.

In addition to not showing up for a preliminary hearing, the warrant from a criminal court in Liberia said that Williamson failed to update his address after moving, which put him in contempt.

Williamson said that he doesn’t want the Libería project to be attached to this criminal accusation because “it doesn’t have any validity.”

In a June conversation, Williamson denied knowing Ruíz, but said Wednesday that the lawyer has been “bullying” him for five years concerning the case of alleged fraud. He also denied in June that he had any knowledge of the upcoming court hearing.

He added that he is preparing to counter with legal action against Ruíz. “He has been trying to extort money from us,” Williamson said.

The criminal case stems from an allegation by a Canadian, Boyd Wade Kendall, who, Ruíz said, is trying to recover money he invested with Williamson.

Williamson maintains a Web site for Guanacaste Country Club selling home sites and also one for a firm called Virtus One, that says it owns and operates an array of companies, land assets, contracts and developments in the resort, recreation, utility and technology industry, according to its Web site.

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