WEF director resigns over undeclared fees

Figueres is heading out of the door Keystone Archive

José Maria Figueres, a former president of Costa Rica, has resigned from his post as executive director of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).

This content was published on October 29, 2004 - 17:59

Figueres stepped down on Friday after confirming he had received more than $900,000 (SFr1.1 million) in consultancy fees from the French telecommunications firm, Alcatel.

The WEF, which hosts an annual meeting of business and government leaders in the Swiss alpine resort of Davos, said it had only learned of the payment through the media.

In a statement, the organisation said Figueres had “clearly breached” WEF rules by “not declaring that he was being retained as a consultant when he took the post and whilst he was working at the Forum”.

Spokesman André Schneider said Figueres had acknowledged that he was in violation of the WEF’s rules and had accepted that he had no choice but to step down.

The WEF said the five remaining members of the forum’s executive board had already taken over Figueres’s duties. WEF founder Klaus Schwab will continue to serve as executive chairman.

Financial transactions

The 49-year-old Figueres served as president of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998.

In a statement issued on Wednesday in San Jose, Costa Rica, Figueres acknowledged receiving money from Alcatel. But he added that the payments were legal and had only been made for consulting services after he left office.

His departure from the WEF comes amid an ongoing scandal over the financial affairs of two other former Costa Rican presidents.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez remains under house arrest for allegedly taking payments from Alcatel, while Rafael Angel Calderon is currently awaiting trial on charges that he accepted an illegal commission on medical equipment while in office.

Both former presidents have rejected allegations that they were involved in any illegal transactions.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

José Maria Figueres resigned from his post as executive director of the Swiss-based World Economic Forum on Friday after admitting to breaking WEF rules by accepting more than $900,000 in consultancy fees from French telecoms firm Alcatel.

He served as president of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998.

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