A new complaint added to the three previous investigations by the Attorney General’s Office questions the company in Hong Kong where the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) is transferring a multimillion-dollar loan of ¢10.9 billion to finance cement imports from China.
The two-page document explains the facts and other 10 legal reports such as bank deposits, board of directors of the BCR and letters from banks that question the millionaire transactions in national and international accounts.
The evidence was handed over to the Prosecutor in charge of the investigation to question whether the multi-million dollar credit financed with Costa Rican money was deposited in a ghost company in Hong Kong and shows -with copies of bank deposits- that some of the money returned to Costa Rica through a private bank.
In addition, evidence was presented of an alleged gift received by Citizen Action legislator Víctor Morales, from the debtor of the loan as a “favor” for his efforts with the Government.
The new information of the Public Prosecutor’s Office mentions the company SINOCEM DE COSTA RICA as the debtor of the loan to the company SINOBUILDING MATERIALS HONG KONG LIMITED, which receives the money in Hong Kong, and several public employees.
Doubts arise because the company where the bank deposited ¢ 10,900 million of the cement credit did not exist legally and it was actually created 14 days after the BCR approved the money for SINOCEM to import Chinese cement.
This is a summary of the events:
-On October 6th, 2015, the loan for Sinocem de Costa Rica was approved in the Credit Commission.
-On October 9th, the Presidential House asked the BCR to finance the import of Chinese cement.
-On October 14th, the Bank’s Board of Directors agreed to finance the cement import.
-On October 14th, the Board of Directors of the BCR changed its policy regulations to resolve the legal vacuum that led to the approval of a loan that was not insured.
-On October 20th, Wuping founded Sinobuilding Materials Hong Kong Limited in China.
The complaint raises the question of why credit bureaus did not warn that billions of colones of public funds would be deposited in a company that did not even exist and had no business history.
The authorities also questioned that the loan was granted without a real guarantee, so the BCR was forced to change its internal credit regulations to accept a policy from the insurer Oceánica and subsequently decided to include the actual cement itself as collateral, even though it is a perishable product.
Everything happened 5 days after the Presidential House and the BCR agreed to finance the Chinese cement import business with public funds, an act that is questioned by Legislator Patricia Mora from Frente Amplio, who will request the reopening of the investigation in the Commission of Control of Income and Public Expenditure of the Legislative Assembly.
The company from Hong Kong was founded by a citizen named Wuping, who has visited Costa Rica five times in recent years.
Another interesting aspect is that the website of the company that received ¢ 10.9 billion in Hong Kong is not domiciled in the Asian country, but its domain was administered until September 9th, 2016 in offices of the credit’s co-debtor in San José, La Uruca, and under an email from the debtor company.
Moreover, on February 1st, 2016, the company received in its accounts in Hong Kong the first $10 million (approximately ¢ 5,5 billion colones) and five days later the debtor company received a $2-million deposit (approximately ¢ 1,1 billion colones) in a private-bank account.
The re-entry of the millionaire amount to the country raised the alerts of the private bank that asked for explanations. The company in Hong Kong justified the money as “advertising expenses and product damages,” although the cement did not arrived in Costa Rica until April 2016.
Moreover, by means of an appeal, a legislator of the Special Permanent Commission for the Control of the Income and Public Expenditure of the Legislative Assembly accused Minister of Finance Helio Fallas. The legislator asked Fallas for the information needed to investigate the case of Chinese cement but Fallas denied all requested information alleging right to confidentiality.
The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the appeal and ordered the Minister of Finance to provide all information concerning the traceability of the cement imported from China. This sentence is pending.