The president of Aldesa, Javier Chaves, said he will repay in full – interest and principal – the 550 investors who invested US$200 million in his company.
Among the group of investors are the savings funds of 32 ‘worker’s unions’ that could affect the savings of some 25,000 people.
In an interview with Telenoticias, Chaves confirmed that investors have not been paid interest for four months now, as the company faces liquidation and judicial problems with its operations.
According to Chaves, the company is suffering a lack of cash, blaming the increase in the dollar exchange and the slowdown in the economy, and its problems with selling “an important asset”, the 2018 election process and that ‘fiscal crisis’ prompting Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) offering better interest than Aldesa to get cash.
One of the affected, Flora Hernandez, the daughter of an 88-year-old investor, told Telenoticias, “where is the US$200 million…he (Chaves) is a magician (in making the money disappear)”.
Chaves defends himself saying, “that the money is missing, it is a completely falsity….how can that be, there are the lands, pieces of land under construction, others with buildings…no one will lose a colon, the money has not disappeared.”
Hernandez is one of two to file a criminal complaint (denuncia) against Aldesa this past week. The other is Gonzalo Meza, the lawyer for the worker’s unions.
For simplicity sake, Aldesa operated a myriad of companies, among them Aldesa Puesto de Bolsa that offered on the stock exchange returns of 9% and higher, while the other corporations invested in real estate projects. The Superintendencia General de Valores (Sugeval) – General Securities Superintendency this week opened an investigation into the stock company.
The company has proposed a plan, asking the First Circuit of San José (Juzgado Concursal del I Circuito de San José) for a 3 year period to re-organize, pull out of its economic problems and pay investors. The court rejected the initial plan and is currently analyzing the latest submission.
On May 20, Chaves told La Nacion, that he will stay put in Costa Rica while his wife, Edna Camacho, resigned her post as Minister of Economic Coordination (Ministra de Coordinación Económica) to travel to Washington D.C. on July 1, to represent Costa Rica before the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID).
“It’s unthinkable,” he said of any move to the United States and that his wife understands that he must face his obligations here.
The day following, on May 21, the social networks were abuzz with the news of the move by President Carlos Alvarado, saying Chaves would now benefit from diplomatic immunity and could avoid his problems in Costa Rica, due to his wife’s appointment.
Doble Check, a publication by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) was quick to point out the impossibility of the immunity for Chaves. “Diplomatic immunity would not protect Javier Chaves from the questioning of the Aldesa case,” noted the website.
What’s next for investors of Aldesa?
Two investors who spoke on the basis of anonimity with the Q, represening a combined investment of US$600,000 in the company, said all that they can do is wait and take Chaves at his word, though their hopes of recovering their investment is doubtful.
One of them, investing in the company less than a year before the problems became public, said he sought legal advice but doesn’t see filing any charges any time soon. The other, at 81 years of age and with more than decade investing with Aldesa, hides his concerns, placing his faith in the company’s past history.