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POLITICAL FALL-OUT FROM COSTA RICA RAIDS
Posted 5/20/11 :
Political party accepted donations from IDS chief
The US federal indictments against individuals associated with Absolute Poker.com have generated political fall-out in Costa Rica, reports the newspaper Inside Costa Rica.
Following last week’s enforcement agency raids on Innovative Data Solutions, a Costa Rica company believed to be associated closely with Absolute Poker, the Ministerio Publico raided the offices of the Partido Movimento Libertario - a political party - Wednesday.
Ministerio Publico investigators suspect that the leader of the PML - Otto Guevara - accepted donations from IDS chief Olman Rimola, knowing that the funds came from illegal gambling operations.
Guevara, a candidate for the premiership in 2010, has acknowledged receiving political donations from Rimola, but denies knowing that the funds came from illegal gambling sources.
"This is a political stunt", said Guevara on Wednesday after the Ministerio Publico raid. He added that he has no problems in opening up his bank accounts. The politician said he knew Rimola and that he operated a call-centre, one of many in Costa Rica, but that he was not aware this was linked to an online poker operation.
Rimola was arrested last week following raids on IDS by the local equivalent of the FBI; it has been alleged that in both the IDS and PML raids officials were accompanied by US federal agents.
According to the Ministerio Publica, Rimola turned himself in a few days after the raid and was ordered to stay in the country and sign in at the court office every 15 days.
The Ministerio Publico is now seeking to lift banking secrecy against Guevara's and the Movimiento Libertario's bank accounts, reports Inside Costa Rica.
"Involved in the investigation is also the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) - the elections tribunal - and the Unidad contra el Lavado de Dinero del OIJ (OIJ money laundering unit)," the newspaper reports.
Joint raids also focused on the ML San Pedro offices and the office of former ML campaign manager, Cristian Arguedas, in Lindora (Santa Ana) and the home of Carla Gomez, known as a local financier.
Guevara said that those who made donations to his party will have to answer any questions regarding the source of the funds, explaining that all the donations were handled through current accounts managed by Arguedas.
"We in the party have no problem. We do not have a dog in this fight", said Guevara, explaining that he received loans from Gomez to finance his expenses in 2009.
On the raid on party headquarters, Guevara said: "they were probably looking for receipts of such contributions".
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