Election Section

Man convicted in Costa Rican scheme

The Associated Press
Thursday June 27, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo.— A man was convicted of participating in a scheme to offer $1.5 million in bribes to Costa Rican politicians and government officials in exchange for land concessions in a Caribbean development project. 

A federal court jury on Monday found Robert Richard King, 68, guilty of one count of conspiracy and four counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

King’s lawyer said he would appeal. 

Prosecutors alleged King conspired with Owl Securities & Investment, a Kansas City company in which he owned stock, to bribe Costa Rican officials. The quid pro quo was a land concession of 50 square miles on the Caribbean coast, according to secret recordings made by former Owl president Stephen Kingsley at the request of the FBI. 

Owl Securities had won the right to finance and develop port and resort facilities at Limon, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. 

A second defendant, Pablo Barquero Hernandez of Costa Rica, is a fugitive. Two officers of Owl Securities, Albert Reitz and Richard Halford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and await sentencing. 

King is free on bail and no sentencing date was set. Philip Urofsky, the Justice Department’s senior counsel for international litigation, said he believed King could get three to five years in prison.