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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 23:56 GMT 00:56 UK
OAS head quits amid graft scandal
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Rodriguez insists he never took any bribes
The new director general of the Organisation of American States is resigning amid corruption allegations.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez - who has been in the post for only two weeks - is accused of taking bribes during his tenure as president of Costa Rica.

Mr Rodriguez has denied any wrongdoing, but said he would stand down from his present position on 15 October.

The scandal is connected with payments made by the French telecommunications giant, Alcatel.

No formal charges have been presented against the former Costa Rican leader.

However his successor, President Abel Pacheco, had urged him to resign and clear his name - precipitating the crisis within the OAS.

On Friday Mr Pacheco said Mr Rodriguez's decision to stand down was correct and brave.

The scandal began last week, when a former director of Costa Rica's state telephone company, Jose Antonio Lobo, told prosecutors that kickbacks had been involved in the award of a big contract to Alcatel in 2001.

Local media reported that Mr Rodriguez had received transfers from bank accounts belonging to Mr Lobo's wife.

Mr Rodriguez - who was president from 1998 to 2002 - said the money he received had been a personal loan to defray the costs of his campaign to head the OAS.

Mr Rodriguez will be succeeded at the head of the OAS by his deputy, Luigi Einaudi of the US.

OAS chief faces graft allegations
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08 Apr 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Costa Rica
02 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Costa Rica
24 Sep 04  |  Country profiles

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