QCOSTARICA – The presidential candidate of the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD), Rodrigo Chaves, issued a warning to the Costa Rican Judiciary on Tuesday after hearing “rumors” that the headquarters of his party and his house would be raided for an investigation into the financing of his politic campaign.
“There is a loud noise that there is going to be a raid on the party headquarters and on my house. There are serious rumors, which are not Twitter rumors, they are from legislators and Diario Extra reporting it,” Chaves said at a press conference.
The presidential candidate, who will face former President José María Figueres of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) in the second round on Sunday, April 3, warned the judiciary that a raid so close to the elections would damage the country’s democracy.
“I don’t know if the rumors have any foundation and I don’t fear in the least a raid because I have nothing to hide, but it would be a serious blow to democracy if the Judiciary interfered days before an election on an issue that the (Supreme Electoral) Court has jurisdiction,” said Chavez.
He added that a raid “would set a very dangerous precedent in our democracy.”
During the campaign, Chaves criticized “certain media outlets”, to which he did not refer directly, and called them “liars” and “laughing stocks” for publications they have made about the alleged financing irregularities of his campaign.
Everything is related to the Costa Rica Próspera trust (Fidecomiso in Spanish) which was formed in February 2021 and that was closed on September 18, one day before Chaves was declared a presidential candidate by the PPSD.
According to Chaves, the trust managed to capture US$135,000 to finance a think tank and analysis of the national reality headed by him and that was not used for campaign expenses.
Local media have published that campaign expenses were paid with that trust, which would be illegal.
The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – Supreme Electoral Tribunal – is investigating the situation and requested information from the Banco Nacional about money movements of the trust.
The Electoral Code prohibits the creation of parallel financing structures in which political activities of the party are financed without the supervision of the party structure recognized by the Court and outside the official accounts.
On Tuesday, an article in La Nacion revealed that a German, identified as Friedrich Hey, made a donation of US$3,000 to the trust, despite the fact that the Electoral Code prohibits financing electoral expenses with foreign contributions.
Also on Tuesday, Rodrigo Chaves admitted to the inexistence of an alleged clause to hide trust donors. Before the first round (February 6) voting, Chaves said that a ‘confidentiality clause’ prevented him from revealing the names of the donors of his controversial trust and, now, he admits that such a rule did not exist in the contract
Chaves said on Tuesday that he fully trusts the TSE and the Department of Political Party Financing.
On the other hand, Chaves denounced what he considers a dirty media and political campaign against him and blamed the rival party for the dissemination on social networks of videos that brand him a pedophile and show people committing suicide.
“Today is a very sad day in the political history of this country and for our democracy. I never believed that there could be a campaign as dirty as the one that José María Figueres is doing,” Chaves said.