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(506) 2223-1327         Publsihed Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009,  in Vol. 9, No. 164     E-mail us
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us

Arias signs immigration bill
Casa Presidencial photo
Óscar Arias Sánchez signs the new immigration bill while Mario Zamora, immigration director, Janina del Vecchio, security minster, and his brother, Rodrigo Arias Sánchez observe. The
action Wednesday was the final act in a long-running drama that took more than three years to draft and pass a bill. Details of the bill are HERE!

U.S. Marshals Service shows interest in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Marshals Service is turning toward Costa Rica in its international effort to capture fugitives.

A representative of the Marshals Service met with Costa Rican law enforcement officials earlier this month. At the same time in Washington, D.C., the service outlined its participation in the first-ever worldwide manhunt for violent fugitives.

The Marshals Service provided support to the International Police Agency (INTERPOL) and  Crime Stoppers International. The cooperative effort involved law enforcement agencies from four continents with contributions by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, the agency said.

The success of the operation hinged on the exchange of information concerning violent fugitives who have fled internationally and are believed to be residing in other countries, said the service.

International fugitive cases are particularly difficult, and the international operation targeted the worst of the worst offenders. officials said. Among those nabbed was Christian Garro Chaves, who was taken into custody June 17 by the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force and personnel from INTERPOL.

Garro was wanted in Costa Rica for the alleged repeated sexual molestation of a child at knifepoint. He also was wanted for allegedly attacking a sleeping victim with a machete during a home invasion. His victim survived the attack and provided local authorities with Garro's name and description, officials said.

Garro waived extradition and was returned to Costa Rica, where he faces 45 years in prison, the agency said.
Among those who may be in Costa Rica are Harold Rangel, 21, who is under investigation for his 
alleged participation in a $35 million high yield investment and mortgage fraud conspiracy that targeted more than 600 Latino families in the Los Angeles area.  He fled and may be in México or further south.

Another fugitive who may be in Costa Rica is Daniel Andreas San Diego, 31, who is wanted for his alleged involvement in the bombing of two office buildings in the San Francisco, California, area. San Diego has ties to animal rights extremist groups, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is among the FBI's most wanted terrorists and there is a substantial reward. Law officers have said that his family members have visited Costa Rica since San Diego was on the run.

Costa Rica is a fertile field for U.S. criminal hunters. Local INTERPOL agents frequently find fugitive U.S. citizens in the Central Valley or at the beaches. The country's lax immigration laws makes coming here easy for criminals.

Members of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service also met with Costa Rican law enforcement officials this month. That agency also is charged with tracking down fugitives.

The Marshals Service has plans to provide training to Costa Ricans on the handling of high-security prisoners. The agency also is in charge of witness protection in the United States, and a new law now puts that responsibility here with the Judicial Investigating Organization, which is seeking applicants for a new branch.

The Costa Rican Constitution forbids the extradition of the country's citizens regardless of the crime. So there are about a dozen Costa Ricans who are high profile criminal suspects in the United States. However, U.S. officials cannot touch them here.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 164

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Costa Rica Expertise Ltd E-mail Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Angela Jiménez
ask Angela Jiménez
Architect/Certified Appraiser
23 years experience
for Costa Rica Banks

• building inspections
•¨property management
• construction management

Insurance brokers

Financial Planning & International Health Insurance
Disney Financial Group
Along with specializing in complete financial / estate planning and transfer, Disney is now offering the Finest
Michael Disney
Michael Disney
in International Health and Travel Insurance to Expats living and traveling worldwide.  International health insurance may now be submitted over the Internet.

We also have annuities offering a 25% up front bonus and 5% guaranteed compounded interest.  We handle life insurance policy buy outs. ** All financial products must be finalized within the boundaries of the United States.
Michael Disney, Disney Financial Group. 001.602.464.3729, 001.602.821.5050
E-mail:  DisneyFinancial@Aol.Com
Disney Financial Group is licensed in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
Costa Rica's evolving immigration law.
Pensionado and rentista. Your first stop for smooth, professional service and a positive experience. Javier Zavaleta
Tel: (323) 255-6116

Business consultant

Vision: Empowering small and medium business to their highest potential by setting The standards.
Services we offer:
Financial Management, Planning & Development,
Business English, Business Technology, Professional
Costa Rica-North America Specialists
 Costa Rica (011-506) 8914-4116

Physicians and surgeons

Dr. Marco A. Mora Aguilar, Neurosurgeon
Dr. Mora
Dr. Marco A. Mora
Available for surgery in any of the private hospitals in San José.
Stroke, Brain Surgery, Spine Surgery, Scalp and Skull Repair, Craniotomy
Or use our Contact Form on the site
Emergency tel: 8879-1818, 8395-1818
Accepting VA's Foreign Medical Program


Dr. Luis Carlos Sancho Torres
  bilingual psychiatrist (UCR)
Dr. Sancho
• consulting • depression  • schizophrenia 
• psychiatric disability VA Affairs

• evaluations for gun permits 
• bipolar disorders  • addictions 

• methadone

• Transmagnetic stimulation
for depression and stroke

Available 24-hour a day

office: 2246-3458 or 2246-3459

Dentists and dental surgery

Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica
Our office offers a wide variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments at very affordable prices. Fillings,
Dental Cosmetics
crowns, bridges, veneers, tooth whitening, implants, smile makeover orthognatic surgery, scalling and polishing.

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants $500, Crowns $250

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
Dr. cavallini
Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini
over 10,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction,
Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. 
For more information,
visit us today at:

Hearing consultant

English-speaking hearing consultant
We can professionally evaluate your hearing problem at Clinica Dinamarca off Paseo Colón or at Hospital CIMA.
• Natural sound
• Lowest prices
• No more background noise, feedback or echoing
• American hearing consultant from D.C. & Atlanta
• Nine clinics including Hospital CIMA
• Authorized provider  to the U.S. veterans
• The worlds leading provider of hearing aids
      Widex hearing aids since 1956

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Allan Weinberg
We service the U.S. veterans/Foreign Medical Program. Please contact me, Allan, at or at 8891-8989.

Acupuncture physician

Acupuncture (disposable needles),
& Auriculotherapy (without needles) 

Immediate results guaranteed
for sport and all injuries; Back, neck, shoulder, elbow, carpal tunnel, knees, sciatica, 
Eugene McDonald
Eugene Mc Donald A.P.
migraine, T.M.J., kidney stones, intercostal neuralgia, and all painfull conditions  without drugs. Excellent results for stress, tension, anxiety, depression; and many other medical conditions and health maintenance.  Acupuncture works even if other therapies had little or no results. Free consultation, U.S. license, 19 years experience, Eugene Mc Donald, A.P (acupuncture physician) Escazú, 8352-0661.


James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
individuals and businesses
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
Income Tax Exclusion (up to $
87,600 in 2008)
• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2289-8235
Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!

Real estate agents and services

Latitude Nine real estate graphic
Latitude 9
Real estate, development, Investments.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
506 2777-1197

Over 25 years experience in Costa Rica

with Great Estates of Costa Rica

20 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
(506)  2220-3729 &  (506) 8382-7399 cell
(506)  2232-5016 (phone/fax)

CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
A Name You Trust & Professional Service

Buying? Selling?
We Can Do It!
1 (877) 746-3868
  Tom Ghormley - Owner/Broker - in CR since '79

Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments

7Legal services

Arcelio Hernandez, Esq.
Member: Cenpac, AmCham
Jaco: Tel. 2643-3058 - Fax. 2643-0358
US & Canada: 1-305-280-6860
San José: Tel. 2519-4647 - Fax: 2520-0831
Skype: hernandez.mussio
Arcelio hernandez
• Real Estate Transactions
•  Legal Due Diligence
• Purchase and Sale   Agreements/Options
• Trademarks 
• Costa Rican Corporations.
• Title Guaranty • Fraud
     protection * Litigation 
• Constitution of condominiums
• Notary public services in
   general • Offshore Incorporation • Offshore Banking  • Business Law 
• Escrow Services (registered
     with SUGEF) • Estate Planning 
• Family Law 
• Bilingual Accounting Services 

Visit our Office in Jacó Beach (GEM Building, 
Office 4 across from AyA on Calle Ancha).

Attorneys & Notaries
 Tel.  2280-9692 / 2225-9322      
e-mail:  Web:
       We offer the highest professional standards with very competitive rates. All our official documentation and Notary deeds are always translated in English for better comprehension, client satisfaction and safety.
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• Immigration Law.
• Real Estate Law.
• Corporations, Foundations
       and Associations. 
• Trademarks & Intellectual
• Notary public services
• Criminal Law
•Civil & Commercial 
Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone/Fax: 2290-8117, 8841-0007
New location on Rohrmoser Blvd.
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

El Niño conditions seen
in Pacific, U.N. agency says

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The United Nations agency dealing with weather, climate and water says an El Niño event has begun in the tropical Pacific and is likely to continue into early 2010. 

El Niño and La Niña bring significant temperature fluctuations in surface waters of the tropical belt of the Pacific Ocean. An El Niño event sees a rise in temperatures, and La Niña witnesses a drop in normal temperatures. 

These temperature changes are strongly linked to major climate fluctuations around the world, especially in Latin America, Australia and East Asia, which can last for a whole year or more. Both El Niño and La Niña can disrupt the normal weather patterns and have widespread impacts on climate in many parts of the world. 

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday that sea-surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific had risen to between 0.5 and 1 degree Celsius warmer than normal by the end of June, with similar temperatures in July. 

“Scientific assessments of these observations indicate that this warming resembles the early stages of an El Niño event,” the Geneva-based agency stated in a news release. 

“Although some of the atmospheric changes associated with this warming have been initially slow to develop into classical El Niño climate patterns, the warming is now well-established enough for scientists to conclude that it is consistent with a basin-wide El Niño event.” 

In its most recent update on the subject, the Meteorological organization said that the expectation is for El Niño conditions to very likely prevail through the remainder of 2009 and into the first quarter of 2010. 

“This expectation is based on model forecasts, and the typical life-cycle of El Niño events, which once established in the early-middle part of a year, usually persist through into the first quarter of the following year.” 

The agency added that El Niño typically occurs once every four to five years, so the current assessments translate to a substantially elevated risk of an El Niño developing later this year.  

At the same time, it noted that, in considering risk management strategies, it is important to keep in mind that many unusual climate patterns and significant climate extremes occur independently of El Niño.  

Hurricane Bill may head
to Canada next week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. weather forecasters say Hurricane Bill has grown into a powerful storm as it swirls in the open Atlantic and could become stronger, possibly threatening easternmost Canada next week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says in its 11 p.m. report Wednesday that Bill was maintaining category four strength.

Bill was moving toward the northwest near 17 mph (28 kph) and this general motion is expected for the next day or so with a turn toward the north-northwest by late Friday. 

Maximum sustained winds were near 135 mph (215 kph) with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is possible during the next 24 hours, the center said. The storm was about 880 miles (1,415 km) south-southeast of Bermuda.

In Costa Rica some increases are expected for the Caribbean waves. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that there would be an increase in winds and humidity from the Caribbean today, and this would cause more afternoon rains through the northern zone, the Central Valley and the Pacific coast.

30 experts on the trail
of missing U.S. citizen

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja said Wednesday that it had 30 trained mountain rescue workers in the search for missing U.S. citizen David Gimelfarb.

Late in the day it appeared that two U.S. military helicopters also were on the hunt over the rugged Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja in northern Costa Rica. 

The Chicago man failed to return to his hotel Aug. 12 after a hiking trip to the park. Searchers later found his rented car.

The Cruz Roja also said it had telecommunications specialists and three cartographers on the search, too. The searchers are facing adverse weather conditions with heavy rains.

The park contains 14,083 hectares or 34,800 acres. It is home to two volcanoes, the Rincon de la Vieja and Santa Maria; six different volcanic peaks and 32 rivers and creeks.

Aggressive soccer fans
will meet today for game

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sometimes at first division soccer games there is more action in the stands or later in the streets or in the parking lot than on the field. The reason is the aggressive partisanship of the so-called barras, organizations of fans.

The major groups are the La Ultra and La Doce. Although not as violent as some of the similar European groups, members of the barras, dressed in their team colors have been known to stone buses and engage in attacks on supporters of other teams.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, the la Liga Deportiva Alajuelense and community leaders plan a friendly soccer game today at the Estadio Morera Soto in Alajuela to bring the two groups of fans together to prevent future confrontations.

Quake near Puriscal felt
in San José area, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A quake near Puriscal rattled some homes there and in the Central Valley early Wednesday. The exact location was reported as 10 kms. southeast of San Ignacio de Acosta, said the Red Nacional Sismológica of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said the 5:30 a.m. quake had a magnitude of 3.3, but the Red Nacional said 4.3.

The quake was about 67 kms (about 42 mile) deep and was caused by movement of the Coco and Caribe tectonic plates.

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A.M. Costa Rica

users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages
Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each weekday.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information
A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us
Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us
Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

Did you try
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We're not trying to avoid you. We just are victims of another ICE problem.

The workmen came and disconnected the phones in our old office before they found out that they did not have sufficient space to install the lines in the new office.

You can reach us at 8832-5564.

But Internet is best.

-A.M. Costa Rica 

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 164

another great month
Your Costa Rica

Bird program converts youngsters into real scientists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just as the Internet has democratized political commentary, cross-border contacts and basic research, there is an emerging trend toward citizen scientists.

The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology has created a learning program for elementary and high schoolers that allows them to submit observations to the desk-bound scientists. The project got its first Costa Rican workout earlier this year in Sarapiquí.

The program is BirdSleuth, said the university, which is based in Ithaca, New York:

"Students engage in authentic inquiry through citizen science! They carefully observe birds, ask and answer their own questions based on observations and data, and publish their original research. BirdSleuth kids also use technology and real data: The Internet makes it easy to send and receive data and help scientists to better understand birds."

A curriculum is directed at students from fourth grade through high school, but there also is a program geared toward homeschool students.
bird sleuths

The university said that when Lilly Briggs, a graduate student at York University in Toronto, needed research to complete her master's degree, she used BirdSleuth to reach Costa Rican students. The lab created a special Costa Rican module and had the printed material and bird guides translated into Spanish.

Ms. Briggs traveled to Sarapiquí earlier this year and recruited  detectives de pájaros or bird detectives among students there, the university lab said. She reported that the students loved being outdoors and learning about the birds in their own back yards. The ornithology lab said it was hoping to expand its international work.

Once you are bilingual, the brain will not let you shake it
By the  Association for Psychological Science
 news service

A new study shows that bilinguals are unable to turn off a language completely.

With a vast majority of the world speaking more than one language, it is no wonder that psychologists are interested in its effect on cognitive functioning. For instance, how does the human brain switch between languages? Are humans able to seamlessly activate one language and disregard knowledge of other languages completely?

According to the study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, it appears humans are not actually capable of turning off another language entirely. Dutch psychologists Eva Van Assche, Wouter Duyck, Robert Hartsuiker and Kevin Diependaele from Ghent University found that knowledge of a second language actually has a continuous impact on native-language reading.

The researchers selected 45 Ghent University students whose native-language was Dutch and whose secondary language was English. The psychologists asked the students to read several sentences containing control words — plain
words in their native language — and cognates. Cognates are words that have a similar meaning and form across languages, often descending from the same ancient language;. For example, cold is a cognate of the German word kalt.

While the students read the sentences, their eye movements were recorded and their fixation locations were measured — that is, where in the sentence their eyes paused. The researchers found that the students looked a shorter period of time at the cognates than at the controls. So in the example sentence Ben heeft een oude OVEN/LADE gevonden tussen de rommel op zolder ("Ben found an old OVEN/DRAWER among the rubbish in the attic"), the bilingual students read over oven more quickly than lade.

According to the psychologists, it is the overlap of the two languages that speeds up the brain's activation of cognates. So even though participants did not need to use their second language to read in their native language, they still were unable to simply turn it off.

It appears, then, that not only is a second language always active, it has a direct impact on reading another language — even when the reader is more proficient in one language than another.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 164

In a tough economy extortion seems to be on the upswing
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Extortion seems to be on the rise as the economy remains flat.

The extortion can be as brutal as a violent kidnapping and torture. Or it can be a repeated toll exacted by armed youth like that found in Barrio Chino, Pital, San Carlos, where residents had to pay to go to their homes.

Or it may be a repetition of the automobile kidnappings in which owners are offered the right to recover their stolen vehicle for a payment.

On the Nicoya peninsula agents still are searching the mountains and woods for four kidnappers who finally released an Atenas businessman Tuesday afternoon. They took him Friday night near the finca or farm he owns near Cóbano. They wanted 30 million colons, about $51,500. They settled for about a third of that amount. Express kidnappings are more common in other Central American countries, but seem to be on the rise here.

The situation in Barrio Chino is tense. The Fuerza Pública officers who responded to a call about a shooting Sunday night were stoned by some residents. So was a Cruz Roja ambulance. It was here that some thugs were demanding payment to allow neighbors to pass through their own neighborhood.

Police responded in force Tuesday with the Grupo de Apoyo Operational, a tactical squad, and a K-9 dog unit. Officers checked documents and detained two illegal Nicaraguan immigrants for rapid deportation, they said. Police and immigration officers have deported about 70 persons from that area already this year, they said.
Residents told police that they did not think that the young toughs were members of an organized gang, although the specter of the notorious Central American gangs always are on the minds of law enforcement.  Residents said that they were being charged from 5,000 to 6,000 colons to enter their own homes, some $8.50 to $10.30. That is a substantial sum in a poor neighborhood.

Perhaps unrelated to the extortion scheme, a Nicaraguan man, Julio Meneses Toledo, died there Sunday night in a gun battle. Two persons suffered bullet injuries. A riot broke out when one neighbor kept the presumed aggressor safe in his home. A crowd gathered and rock-throwing began.

That's when 10 officers arrived and were greeted with rocks.

Investigators broke up one auto extortion ring this week with the arrest of two men, they said. The Judicial Investigating Organization set up a trap for the men after a citizen complained he had been offered the right to buy back a stolen car.

The theft victim was told he would have the car back for 600,000 colons, some $1,030, An additional payment was sought for the return of a laptop computer that was in the car when it was taken. Judicial police arrested the two men when they arrived near Juan Santamaría airport to exchange the car for the money. One man was a guard, and he had a number of stolen vehicles hidden on the property he was supposed to watch, agents said.

A judge in Alajuela declined to jail the two men in preventative detention. Instead, they have to sign in with the prosecutor every 15 days.

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 164

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U.S. will get all information
it sought under Swiss pact

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The U.S. Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service have announced that the data exchange agreement with the Swiss government has been finalized. As a result of the agreement, the United States will receive substantially all of the data on bank accounts of interest when it initiated the John Doe summons against the UBS ban a year ago.

Under the agreement, the IRS will submit a treaty request to the Swiss government describing the specific accounts for which it is requesting information. The Swiss government will then direct UBS to initiate procedures which could result in the turning over of information on thousands of accounts to the IRS. The IRS will receive information on accounts of various amounts and types, including bank-only accounts, custody accounts in which securities or other investment assets were held and offshore company nominee accounts through which an individual indirectly held beneficial ownership in the accounts.

Also, the agreement retains the U.S. Government’s right, if the results are significantly lower than expected and other measures fail, to seek appropriate judicial remedies, including resuming actions to enforce the John Doe summons.

The agreement involves a number of simultaneous legal actions:

• The judicial enforcement of the John Doe summons will be dismissed. While this enforcement motion will be withdrawn, the underlying John Doe summons remains in effect.

Upon receiving the treaty request, the Swiss government will direct UBS to notify account holders that their information is included in the IRS treaty request. It is expected that these notices will be sent on a rolling basis with some being sent over the coming weeks and others over the coming months. Receipt of this notice will not by itself preclude the account holder from coming into the IRS under the Voluntary Disclosure Program, which is due to end on Sept. 23.

In addition, the Swiss Government has agreed to review and process additional requests for information from other banks regarding their account holders to the extent that such a request is based on a pattern of facts and circumstances equivalent to those of the UBS case.

Information provided to the IRS through this process will be thoroughly examined for all potential civil and criminal tax violations, the agency said. The IRS will assess any additional tax, interest and a number of applicable penalties. This includes the penalty for the willful failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. This penalty can be up to 50 percent of the value of the account for each year a report was not filed. Under the Voluntary Disclosure Program, the account holders must pay 20 percent of the amount of tax that was underpaid for the past six years and 20 percent of the highest value of the account over the past six years, in addition to all their unpaid taxes and interest due on those taxes.

The IRS will also recommend criminal prosecution in those cases where the facts warrant such an action. To date, the Justice Department and the IRS have successfully prosecuted four U.S. customers of UBS whose information was provided to the IRS by the Swiss bank as part of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

Individuals whose information is obtained by the IRS through this process will, by longstanding policy, not be eligible for the voluntary disclosure program, the agency said.
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, Vol. 9, No. 164

Latin American news
Pakistani VOA reporter
finally released by U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. immigration officials have released a Pakistani journalist who reports for Voice of America's Deewa Radio and whose home was destroyed by Taliban militants last month in northwestern Pakistan.

The journalist, Rahman Bunairee, was freed Wednesday, more than one week after he arrived in the United States and was taken into custody at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.  The Department of Homeland Security has refused to comment on his case, citing privacy reasons.

Bunairee was let go after U.S. customs authorities apparently resolved questions about his visa.

Bunairee's ultimate legal status and right to remain in the U.S. will be determined at a future immigration hearing.  The journalist is currently reviewing his legal options with his attorney. 

Voice of America's parent agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, issued a statement welcoming Bunairee's release, describing him as a man of extraordinary courage and dedication.

The board said it expects Bunairee will in due course be able to undertake the assignment at VOA for which he has come to the United States.  Bunairee traveled to Washington to help VOA develop its broadcasts to the troubled Afghanistan-Pakistan border region through the Radio Deewa service.

Bunairee came to the United States after a group of militants came to his residence early last month in northwestern Pakistan's Buner district and blew up his home.

The reporter, who was not present at the time, said the militants allowed 11 members of his family to leave.

No one was reported hurt in the blast, but the journalist said militants threatened to take further action if they found him.

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