Some investors unhappy at Milanes trial

The Luis Milanes trial continues in San José, but many investors who were burned by the failure of his Savings Unlimited seem to have lost interest.

Prosecutors are seeking testimony from those who have filed charges against the former casino owner. But some are declining because they have lost faith in the judicial process here, according to trial observers and emails from investors.

Others are not in the country and find that travel to Costa Rican consulates to present a remote testimony is not convenient. Canadians, for example, would have to go to Toronto or Vancouver.

Those who have testified say that prosecutors are encouraging them to say they thought Savings Unlimited was a safe investment. The high-interest operation occupied an upscale suit in Edificio Colón until Milanes, a Cuba-American, closed it down in November 2002.

Many investors thought Milanes was investing their money in expanding his casino holdings. Some investors have recounted being given a tour of casinos. However, the casinos were under another ownership. They continued to operate even while Milanes was in flight for years. Recently some have been sold.

Savings Unlimited was similar to the Luis Enrique Villalobos high interest operation in Mall San Pedro. But Villalobos would not say what he was doing with investors’ money. The Milanes operation was more professional with an etched glass door and a cashier’s window. Villalobos made payments in fat envelopes.

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