Piercy case is givings other expats the shivers

The Judicial Investigating Organization said Thursday that there had been no new developments in the case of Ryan Piercy, the missing general manager of the Association of Residents of Costa Rica.

That may not have been completely true because if negotiations with kidnappers are going on, investigators would keep that information close to their chests.

That Piercy, a 45-year-old Canadian, had vanished sent shock waves through the expat community. He has many friends, and he also is among the first English speakers that many new arrivals meet here. The association runs relocation seminars for new expats and would-be expats every month.

Ryan also is Mr. Fixit for individual and general expat needs. For example, he helps negotiate group rates for new residents who have to join the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The association also publishes El Residente magazine that is distributed worldwide. There are frequent articles there from Piercy.

He has been known to intercede on behalf of expats who might be experiencing problems with immigration applications.

Piercy’s private vehicle turned up about 7 p.m. Tuesday on Ruta 32 in Heredia. The door was open.

If he is a kidnap victim, the personable Piercy probably was not targeted for his position in the residents association. He also holds an officer position in the family business, Casa Canada, an investment, real estate and consultancy firm. Casa Canada is known for helping Canadians create legal overseas bank accounts and investments.

The Spanish language press quickly pointed out that Piercy’s name was on more than a hundred corporations in the Registro Nacional. An unsophisticated crook might think this means he has lots of money. In many cases, it appears that Piercy was serving as the responsible party for a foreign investor who was the beneficial owner of the corporation.

People who seek to hide their holdings or who live outside Costa Rica frequently place trustworthy nominees like Piercy in charge of their corporations.  That way the name of the real owners do not appear in the public records.

But perhaps not for long. The Dirección General de Tributación has published for discussion a proposed decree that would require every corporation to provide the names of stockholders. The proposed decree seems to be designed to help the tax agency catch evaders. At least one lawyer thinks that the proposal is illegal and mandatory disclosure must be done via a new law.

The Piercy case has caused many expats to consider their own security. Some have written to A.M. Costa Rica.

The basic rules have not changed. Expats, men and women, should dress conservatively and without jewelry that would attract crooks. The vehicle should not be flashy, and employees should be checked rigorously. The use of cash is discouraged, and suspect locations should be avoided. Daily routines should be varied.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.