First Criminal Judge Rolando Quesada Vallespi, in a ruling dated Dec. 30, dismissed charges of money laundering against former Minister of Social Development Guillermo Ferrufino and businessman Fotis Lymberopulos.
Quesada Vallespi justified the decision by arguing the process originated from investigations carried out by the First Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office for the alleged commission of the crime of unjustified enrichment based on an audit report prepared by the Comptroller General.
In his ruling Quesada Vallespi says that "two cases have been filed for the same case and such facts are contained in an audit report, which generated two cases that are in court for legal qualification."
The judge points out that article 1949 of the Judicial Code states that "a single fact will follow a single process even if there are several participants. In the same way it will proceed even when the punishable acts are several and there is continuity or connection."
He also noted defendants can't be tried twice for the same crime.
The investigation, which was handled by the Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, alleged that Ferrufino had purchased a luxury vehicle with funds from companies linked to Lymberopulos.
The two men also face corruption charges related to the rental of helicopters by the ministry to deliver aid to remote locations.