Ex-president Rodríguez received final acquittal in Alcatel scandal

The declaration of innocence for former president Miguel Angel Rodríguez has been upheld in a Sala III appeal.

The former president has long maintained that he is innocent of corruption involving the Alcatel cell telephone deal. He was convicted once, and that trial court decision was overturned. He was declared innocent in a new trial, and prosecutors appealed that decision, but it was upheld. Then prosecutors appealed the case to the Sala Tercera, part of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

The United States prosecuted an Alcatel CIyT executive who pleaded guilty and admitted paying more than $2.5 million to Costa Rican government officials to obtain a cell telephone contract from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.  The former executive was Christian Sapsizian, a French citizen. He implicated others here.

Alcatel was awarded a $149 million mobile telephone contract in August 2001.

Rodríguez had to quit a prestigious job as secretary general of the Organization of American States to return to Costa Rica to defend himself from the criminal charges. He was not directly related to the bribes, but prosecutors contended that he was behind the process.

Another politician who was involved but not prosecuted is José María Figueres Olsen, another former president.  He received about $900,000 from Alcatel as an adviser from 2000 to 2003.  Figueres is a presidential candidate in the next election.

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