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Costa Rica accuses ex-president Arias of malfeasance

August 22, 2018
FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2015 file photo, Costa Rican 1987 Nobel peace laureate and former president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, looks at the media during the opening ceremony of the XV World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the University in Barcelona, Spain. Costa Rica's Attorney General's Office confirmed on Aug. 22, 2018 that it filed charges against Arias related to his decree on the failed open-cast gold mine Crucitas. His decree declared the site of "public interest and national convenience," which allowed the area to be reopened for gold mining, tree cutting, among other things. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2015 file photo, Costa Rican 1987 Nobel peace laureate and former president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, looks at the media during the opening ceremony of the XV World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the University in Barcelona, Spain. Costa Rica's Attorney General's Office confirmed on Aug. 22, 2018 that it filed charges against Arias related to his decree on the failed open-cast gold mine Crucitas. His decree declared the site of "public interest and national convenience," which allowed the area to be reopened for gold mining, tree cutting, among other things. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rican investigators have accused former President Oscar Arias of malfeasance in relation to a gold mine permitted during his second administration.

Authorities say Arias signed a decree that cleared the way for the Crucitas gold mine in spite of a moratorium on gold mining put in place by the government of his predecessor Abel Pacheco.

The accusation was formally passed to the prosecutor’s office Wednesday.

The mine never advanced beyond site clearing, but protected trees were cut. Later a Costa Rican court found that the permits for the mine were illegally granted and recommended an investigation of various officials, including Arias.

Last year, Arias said he would cooperate with the investigation and maintained his innocence.

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