Former Costa Rican President Rafael Calderon was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of corruption during his term.
It was the first time in Costa Rica’s history that a former president had been tried for corruption. Calderon had previously stated his intention to run for the presidency again in 2010. Calderon, who was president from 1990 to 1994, was accused of embezzling government funds from the state’s social security system. The former president fidgeted and darted his eyes back and forth, as Judge Alejandro Lopez McAdam read the five-year sentence on Monday after the conviction was handed down. Prosecutors had asked for a 24-year sentence. Seven other people also were sentenced to prison terms for taking kickbacks from millions of dollars of purchases made through the state’s social security system. Eliseo Vargas, the head of the social security program during Calderon’s term, also was sentenced to five years in prison. Calderon will not be imprisoned immediately, pending the outcome of an appeal.