Sunday 3 December 2023

How to rob a bank and get away with it

Banco Nacional assaulted from within

Paying the bills


Nicaraguan Border Officials Make Student Leader Sign Apology Letter to Daniel Ortega

Q24N (Confidencial) The worsening police harassment pushed former student...

“Costa Rica Lowered Its Guard” Against Drug Trafficking

QCOSTARICA (Confidencial) As Costa Rica's inhabitants become increasingly alarmed...

Cannabis Confections: Navigating the World of THC Gummies for a Balanced Life

Hey there, curious minds! If you're looking to add...

Air Transat To Serve Costa Rica Year-Round

Canada's Air Transat has announced two routes that will...

Costa Rica loses its young people to violent deaths in homicides, traffic accidents and suicides

QCOSTARICA -- Costa Rica is currently facing a harsh...

Costa Rican Judge Nancy Hernández Appointed New President of the Inter-American Court

QCOSTARICA -- Starting next year and for a period...

Dollar Exchange

¢530.32 BUY

¢537.44 SELL

2 December 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

Paying the bills


RICO’s Q (OPINION) — The robbery at the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR), the greatest in the history of the country, is turning out to be a manual for future heists and should be titled ‘How to Rob a Bank (in Costa Rica) and get Away It”.

Let me explain. The bank is robbed. But it took months for the State bank, the largest bank in the country, to realize that a ton of money had gone missing from one of its vaults.

- Advertisement -

¢3.293 billion colones (around US$6.1 million dollars), in cash.

According to public statements issued by the bank, the bank said the robbery happened in August, but they didn’t realize it until early October. It took them a few more weeks to officially report it to the judiciary.

The money is missing, but was it stolen? Many have begun to ask the question, meanwhile, the judicial police, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), has arrested seven people, people in trusted positions, and a few long-time employees (like over two decades).

On October 3, the bank put four of the accused of the theft under administrative leave with pay. Following the formal complaint on October 24, three more people were added to the suspect list.

Earlier this month, before the arrests and court arraignment, three of the seven filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Constitutional Court for being denied their constitutional right of liberty of movement. While not being officially charged, the bank’s administrative leave included they could not leave their residence. In essence, they were being paid to stay at home.

On November 11, in the case codenamed “Gallo Tapado”, the seven were formally accused and the Juzgado Penal de Hacienda y de la Función Pública (Criminal Court of Finance and Public Function)  issued preliminary measures.

- Advertisement -

The court imposed six-month preventive detention (remand) against a “low” level treasurer, identified by his last names Olivas Valle, who took advantage of the fact that there was only one camera in one of the vaults where the money was stored (in the bowels of the Banco Nacional building in downtown San Jose), opening the door of a safe, and little by little transferring some of the cash to a place where the camera had a blind spot, and packed it in a manila envelope.

This is in an area where not even the lunch bag and that’s how they leave. They are subject to a review by a security officer,” according to the words made in a statement publicly by the bank’s interim general manager, Jaime Murillo.

Of the others, Madrigal Faerrón, head of treasury; Blanco Oviedo, Cash Processing supervisor; Ugalde Morales, cash processing treasury supervisor; Hernández Saborío, accountant; Ramírez Sandí, Cash Processing supervisor, and a woman named Cerdas Méndez, a Cash Processing self-evaluator, have to sign in on a regular basis with court, and cannot leave the country while the investigation continues.

What happens now?

There has been, at publicly, no mention of where the money is or went. The only public information provided so far is that Olivas Valle had a gambling problem, spending the cash taken from the bank to purchase lottery tickets. Hundreds of thousands of colones of lottery tickets daily, lotteries such as chances, national lottery, and various types of illegal lottery.
In my opinion, what is to come next will be interesting. Firstly, it will be years before the criminal case will go to court. Secondly, with time the preventive measures get whittled down to the point where the accused will have their lives back to normal, pending a trial may never come.

A deal will most likely be made, a public trial is risky for the bank, with no upside to have the details of how they were robbed and by trusted employees, made public. In particular, that cash that would fill an armored truck was pilfered over a period of weeks and in what was to have been a very secure area.

It is quite possible that there may be others involved, people in high positions, for example, such as managers, supervisors, or any employee who manages sensitive data. Were some of these people in on it, part of a possible criminal structure, or were in omission in their work of controlling and supervising the money that entered and left the bank?

- Advertisement -

At the very least, the Banco Nacional and other state banks must routinely review their policies related to information privacy and security. The financial industry must constantly design new protocols, which must be adopted, in order to avoid fraud or other situations that cause a lack of credibility in the institution.

Another curiosity regarding this case, the general manager of the Banco Nacional, Bernardo Alfaro, has only referred to it (missing cash) twice and then through videos released by the state bank’s press office.

This is not the first time the Banco Nacional has been robbed from within. In 2013, the manager of the Banco Nacional branch in Cobano, Puntarenas, made off with almost ¢400 million colones. Read the report here Bank Manager and ¢378 Million Colones Missing

More articles on this:





- Advertisement -
Paying the bills
"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

“Costa Rica Lowered Its Guard” Against Drug Trafficking

QCOSTARICA (Confidencial) As Costa Rica's inhabitants become increasingly alarmed by the...

Air Transat To Serve Costa Rica Year-Round

Canada's Air Transat has announced two routes that will be moved...

Subscribe to our stories

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

%d bloggers like this: