Prosecutors are seeking to shelve the case against the former lawyer of Savings Unlimited, a high-interest investing scheme that may have cost 3,600 investors up to $200 million.
At least 480 investors are actively involved in prosecuting the case that also includes casino owner Luis Milanes Camacho as a defendant. The victims have been notified by various means by technicians at the Poder Judicial that the Fiscalía Adjunta de Delitos Económicos, Tributarios y Aduaneros, the office of the prosecutors, is seeking the sobreseimiento definitivo. This means “that it will be filed definitely and the investigation will no longer continue,” according to an email from the Poder Judicial.
Former investors said that judicial employees also were making telephone calls to victims.
Many former investors are believed to feel that this is a prelude to dumping the entire case against Milanes. a Cuban American.
The lawyer is Adolfo José Somarribas Arias, once a prominent legal and political figure in San José. He was detained Nov. 25, 2008, in the European country of Luxembourg. Milanes has claimed that it was the lawyer who made off with most of the investor money. Judicial sources say that there is at least $15 million in a European bank.
Somarribas is believed to have sought and received asylum in Luxembourg on the claim that his life would be in danger if he returned to Costa Rica. None of the investors are believed to know if Costa Rican investigators have ever interviewed the man who was the subject of an International Police Agency search.
The judicial workers said that the investors have the option of hiring a private lawyer to proceed against Somarribas.
Meanwhile, the former investors are losing hope that any trial will take place involving the casino owner. One was expected this year on fraud allegations, but that seems unlikely now. In
addition, Milanes is said to have approached a judge in a private hearing to seek permission to receive stem cell therapy in México because of failing health. Permission was denied, but the details are sketchy because such hearings in Costa Rica are not in open court.
Milanes also sought in court to cancel a deal he had made with some investors that involved transferring ownership of some real estate as partial compensation. The deal resulted in the creation of a trust directed by three lawyers and two investors who are Milanes accusers. The trust has had little success in selling the downtown Hotel Europa, which was a major part of the real estate deal. Milanes continues to operate the Europa Casino at the Raddison Hotel.
Milanes still operates one of his casinos at the Europa, but he appears to have brought in new management from Venezuela. When he was in the investment business in the Edificio Colón in San José, his office was staffed by glamorous Venezuelan women.
Milanes closed the office and left nothing but bare walls when he bolted in Nov. 22, 2002. When he returned to Costa Rica in 2009, he seems to have received preferred treatment.
He spent just a night in jail. Even as the court proceedings advanced, much of his real estate and the lucrative casinos were off the table as far as compensation was concerned.The case against Milanes also has been affected by a procession of prosecutors and judges.