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Costa Rica to Investigate Corruption Allegations Against Former President Rodriguez - 2004-10-02

Costa Rican authorities say they will investigate former President Miguel Angel Rodriguez on allegations of corruption.

They allege Mr. Rodriguez accepted $140,000 in payments in a case involving the French telephone company Alcatel. In 2001, the company won a contract to provide 400,000 cellular telephone lines to Costa Rica.

Mr. Rodriguez was president from 1998-2002, and was recently sworn in as secretary-general of the Organization of American States.

Former Costa Rican Electricity Institute Director Jose Antonio Lobo told investigators Thursday the former president demanded a 60-percent cut from a $2 million reward Alcatel paid after it won the contract.

Mr. Rodriguez says Mr. Lobo loaned him the money to help fund his campaign to head the OAS.

Some Costa Rican officials now demand his resignation as OAS secretary-general.