Environmentalists promise to tell Crucitas panel about corruption

The environmental group that opposed the Las Crucitas open pit gold mine has promised to tell an international arbitration panel about on-going corruption and criminal law proceedings against former Costa Rican public servants involved with the concession.

That promise was part of a filing with a panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes that is hearing a claim for compensation by Infinito Gold Ltd.

Partly based on the claim of corruption by the organization, the Asociación Preservacionista de Flora y Fauna Silvestre, the panel of three arbitrators decided to let it file a written brief, according to the decision by Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, tribunal president.

Infinito is seeking compensation from the government of Costa Rica because the project was shut down before any of the estimated millions in gold could be extracted.

The site is near Cutris de San Carlos in northern Costa Rica.

The environmental organization also said that because it was the plaintiff in the judicial process before Costa Rican courts that resulted in the cancellation of Infinito’s concession, it may provide explanations and evidence related to the factual and legal issues resulting in that cancellation. The organization also was aggressive in a public relations campaign against the project.

The tribunal’s decision on the request noted that neither Infinito nor the government of Costa Rica has made any allegation of corruption.

The tribunal said that lawyers for the environmental organization could see confidential papers to craft what basically is an amicus curiae brief, but that the organization would not be able to participate in legal arguments.

An individual involved with Infinito has said in a letter to the editor that Infinito’s claim is for $93,896,754 plus costs and interest. The company also asks for other such compensation as the tribunal sees fit. It is that claim that allows the tribunal to place a value on Las Crucitas on the day it was annulled. That value is easily in the $300-$400 million dollar range, he said.

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