Thursday 30 March 2023

Millions did not keep owners of MECO and H Solis out of jail for long

Preventive detention remains firm as the court considered "not adequate" alternative measures imposed on businessmen investigated by the Cochinilla Case

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30 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Carlos Cerdas Araya and Mélida Solís Vargas, owners of the construction companies MECO and H Solís, had their bail annulled and imposed to four months of preventive detention after the Tribunal Penal de Hacienda (Criminal Court of Finance) indicated the ineffectiveness of the bonds – US$5 million dollars in the case of Cerdas and US$3 million dollars in the case of Solis – posted days after their arrest.

In the photo, Carlos Cerdas Araya and Mélida Solís Vargas, owners of the construction companies MECO and H Solís, respectively, had their millions of dollars bonds voided and arrested this Monday morning, to spend the next four months in preventive detnetion (jail) for their involvement in the Cochinilla case.

The Court’s resolution was released at 8 am this Monday and, immediately after, the Criminal Court of the Treasury issued arrest warrants against Solís and Cerdas, for their subsequent transfer to a penal center.

According to a communication issued by the Judicial Power, said court based in Goicoechea, determined that the alternative measures established for the two businessmen – a bond of US$5 million dollars by Cerdas and US$3 million dollars by Solis, investigated in the Cochinilla Case are “not adequate”.

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Indeed, shortly after the defendants were detained by the OIJ.

The ruling is not subject to appeals.

The Prosecutor’s Office had filed appeals against the alternative precautionary measures – the posting of bonds ordered by the same court, on June 26, 2021, which in addition to the millions of dollars in cash, property or securities, Cerdas and Solis were also ordered not leave the country and not to have contact with other defendants, among others.

The Court’s ruling indicates that the central object of the appeal presented by the Prosecutor’s Office is limited to the analysis of the suitability of the real surety and other measures, such as palliative of the dangers of flight, criminal continuity, and obstruction.

The Court analyzed “if the financial guarantees, the delivery of the passport and the obligation to maintain a fixed address, were sufficient, suitable and convenient to prevent the accused persons from fleeing the process (risk of flight), not destroying, altering or hiding evidence (danger of obstruction) and the continuation of allegedly criminal activities such as those investigated in this case is not encouraged (risk of criminal repetition) ”.

To this end, various situations were considered, such as the socio-economic conditions of the persons investigated, as well as the possible penalties in case the crimes indicated by the Public Ministry are proven.

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The Judiciary pointed out that the court considered that the measures established against the suspects were not adequate, that is, that they did not meet the required suitability criteria.

“This is how said Authority declared the appeal of the Public Ministry admissible and, consequently, the ineffectiveness of the alternative precautionary measures to preventive detention that was ordered at the time by the Criminal Court is decreed,” the statement said.

Prosecutor’s Office: ‘We are satisfied’

The deputy prosecutor in the Cochinilla Case, Miguel Ramírez, assured this Monday, in a press conference, that they are “satisfied” by this resolution of the Criminal Court of Finance.

“The resolution that concerns us shows that a more serious analysis was given, let’s put it like this, of the evidence that the Public Ministry has to date,” Ramírez said.

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To elaborate on this, Glenn Calvo, deputy anti-corruption prosecutor, assured that this ruling is important because the hypothesis of the Public Ministry is valued and the investigation that has been done so far is also valued.

“The evidence is cemented within the case and, in addition, each and every one of the arguments of the Public Ministry is evaluated, objectively and decisively, which ruins the last resolution (of the Criminal Court of Finance).”

As of this moment, the accusing entity will continue with the investigation and analysis of the evidence collected in the raids. “We hope we can get the necessary evidence to reach the conclusion,” said Calvo.


The first to be arrested was Cerdas. He was located around 9:20 am in Escazú, in the area of the Multiplaza shopping center, confirmed theOrganismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).

Solís was detained at the entrance of the Goicoechea Courts.

Both businessmen were transferred to judicial cells of the OIJ, where they will wait for the Ministry of Justice to place them in a penal center.

Solis is mostly likely to be sent the women’s prison, the Cárcel de Mujeres Vilma Curling, the same she spent a couple of nights while arranging to post bond; Cerdas, most likely will be spending time in the C.A.I. de San Sebastian, commonly referred to the San Sebastian jail that houses people waiting for trial.

Due to the constant overcrowding problems that exist in male prisons, Cerdas will likely remain in judicial cells, since, in some cases, it takes up to a month to place the detainees within the penitentiary system.


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