- Photo via Judicial Investigation Organization -
Published on Thursday, November 18, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
A judge of the Treasury Criminal Court ordered the release of six mayors suspected of corruption who had been arrested and taken to the Judicial Investigation Organization cells on Monday.
According to the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office, jail as a pre-trial measure was not contemplated for the people investigated in the so called "Diamante" (diamond in the English language) case.
The mayors released were surnamed Araya-Monge (mayor of San José), Redondo-Poveda (mayor of Cartago), Cole-deLeón (mayor of Osa), Córdoba-Soro (mayor of San Carlos), Soto-Herrera (mayor of Alajuela) and Barahona-Cortés (mayor of Escazú).
The Prosecutor requested as pre-trial measures the suspension of the office of mayors for eight months, ban on leaving the country, submitting their passports to the Prosecutor, signing a record of attendance, not contacting any witnesses and not entering the municipalities.
Prosecutors made a request of pre-trial jail only for one suspect, a man surnamed Gutiérrez-Vargas, an employee of MECO company. This measure is applied in this case since the man is considered by investigators as the main suspect. He is also being investigated in another case of alleged corruption known as "Cochinilla."
The suspects detained on Monday were identified with the surnames: Boraschi-González (employee of the Municipality of Escazú), Chacón-Ugalde (employee of the Municipality of Alajuela), Suárez-Vásquez (employed of the Municipality of Golfito), Castro-Camacho (employee of the Municipality of San José), Cruz-Porras (employee of Explotec company) and Mayorga-Mayorga (employee of Municipality of Golfito). Prosecutors made a request of similar pre-trial measures ordered to the mayors.
According to Walter Espinoza, director of OIJ, they used the name "Diamante" in the investigation due to the expensive stone that has the highest hardness of any natural material. They use that concept for what a public employee should be: "hard honesty to avoid corruption temptation".
In the "Diamante" case, authorities are investigating the alleged crimes of peddling, bribery, embezzlement, illicit association and corruption against the State.
On Monday, the "Diamante" investigation led agents to arrest 13 suspects in 84 raids that were carried out at the suspect's houses, municipalities, and companies linked to the case, among other places.
Currently, the Public Ministry investigates three other polemic cases of alleged corruption in public institutions. One, known as "Azteca," involves Water Institute workers. Another known as "Cochinilla," involves Ministry of Transportation and Public Works employees. And another one is known as "Cementazo" involves different employees of the Ministry of Transportation.
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