MAC: Mines and Communities

Costa Rica: Judge Leaked Draft Decision on Crucitas gold mine

Published by MAC on 2011-11-30
Source: Inside Costa Rica (2011-11-18)

Judge Is Being Investigated for Leaked Document

A substitute judge has been placed under investigation by an emergency session of the Supreme Court for allegedly leaking the first draft of a decision regarding the controversial Las Crucitas mine in San Carlos.

By Rod Hughes

Inside Costa Rica

18 November 2011

Judge Moises Fachler, 61, resigned from the Sala I chamber after being accused of leaking  the draft to officials of the Industrias Infinito SA, the Canadian-owned company trying to  develop the Las Crucitas open pit gold mine. Sala I is the court that resolves civil business
disputes.

Since being granted a concession in 2002, the company has been mired in a legal labyrinth that has frozen mine development, mostly due to environmentalists' concerns about its impact on the area surrounding the mine.

The story was broken Monday by Channel 7 TV from testimony by ex-company advisor William Mendez and followed up by the country's leading newspaper, La Nacion. On Tuesday, Fachler admitted in an interview with Radio Reloj to having visited the home of Juan Carlos Obando, Industrias Infinito's Corporate Relations Manager.

"Diay (well), Juan Carlos is a friend of mine and it (the visit) could be misinterpreted," Judge Fachler told the radio interviewer when asked if the visit was not counterproductive, "Because of this, I'm resigning, so it won't be misinterpreted..." He continued that he an
his attorney would welcome talking to prosecutors probing the alleged impropriety.

Obando himself has had his run-ins with the the law. He has been in prison since Sept. 2, convicted of corrupt practices when he was manager of EBI de Costa Rica, a trash collection firm. The charge stemmed from his having given Aserri canton Mayor Mario Morales $45,000 in 2005.

Both parties claimed the payment was a personal loan but EBI was engaged at the time in developing a landfill at Huaso, a town in the canton. Personal loan or not, the court considered the transaction improper and sentenced him to a year in jail.

The Legislative Assembly, charged with naming judges, appointed Fachler in August of 2010. Now the court has issued a hurry up call for the lawmakers to name someone to fill the vacant post, since busy Sala I has only one other replacement judge.

Frachler is a lawyer, an active member of the National Liberation party and currently on the board of Banco Nacional. He is also a former board member on the now defunct Banco Anglo, closed down by former President Jose Maria Figueres in the 1990s. The bank manager went to prison for fraud.

Meanwhile, Industrias Infinito Chief Counsel Juan Carlos Hernandez filed an appeal with the Sala IV claiming that the suit in Sala I is unconstitutional. If Sala IV magistrates accept the case, it would paralyze debate in Sala I until the Constitutional Chamber resolves the later case.


Did a judge in the Crucitas mine case leak trial information to Industrias Infinito?

Ex-judge Moisés Fachler is a lawyer for the gold mining company's general manager.

By Karla Arias Alvarado

Tico Times

17 November 2011

Costa Rica opened a judicial investigation due to the possible leak of information during the Crucitas gold mining trial early this year.

Moisés Fachler, a substitute judge in the trial, allegedly leaked a draft of the Supreme Court's Civil and Administrative Law Branch (Sala I) sentence to representatives of the Costa Rican gold mining company  Industrias Infinito, a subsidiary of the Canadian company InfinitoGold, Inc. The daily La Nación reported Thusday that Fachler has been
the lawyer of Juan Carlos Obando, Industrias Infinito's general manager.

Fachler resigned as a magistrate after ex-Industrias Infinito consultant William Méndez revealed the information to Telenoticias, Channel 7.

Obando currently is serving one year in prison for corruption regarding a different company he managed.

Industrias Infinito has been trying since 2002 to begin gold mining in Las Crucitas, near the Nicaraguan border. The Sala I ruled against the mining project in January, but the company appealed the sentence leaving the project in limbo.

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