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Daily News - 19 February 1998

Falsified works of art
The District Attorney's office and the National Copyright Office (Oficina Nacional de Derechos del Autor) are prosecuting those suspected of falsifying works of leading Dominican painters and selling these as legitimate. Police reports indicate that works of Alberto Ulloa, Guillo Pérez, Cándido Bidó, Plutarco Andújar, Dionisio Blanco and Ramón Oviedo have been copied and signatures falsified. The Police has arrested Tony García (Gareco), accused of making copies of renown Dominican painters.

Government and banks reject Washington Post article
The Superintendent of Banks and the president of the Association of Commercial Banks rejected that the Dominican banking system has laundered US$1,000 million as reported in The Washington Post. "That is impossible," stated Vicente Bengoa, of the Superintendency of Banks.
He also called "an exaggeration" that 500,000 Dominicans consume marihuana and cocaine. He said while drug addiction is a problem, it is nowhere at the levels mentioned by the Washington Post article which quoted an anonymous Puerto Rico police officer.
Superintendent of Banks Bengoa, speaking for the government authorities, and Juan Manuel López, president of the Association of Banks, speaking for the private sector, said that as of 1993, the government has been implementing financial controls similar to those in the United States. Any person depositing more than US$10,000 or about RD$145,000, is required to fill out a form that is then sent to the Superintendency of Banks.

Dominican companies in NY cite unfair competition
Freddy Ortíz, president of the Asociación Dominicana de Remesadoras de Divisas, the organization that groups Dominican companies that remit money primarily from Dominicans in New York City to their relatives in the Dominican Republic, says that U.S. companies that are interested in capturing this lucrative market are behind the pressures Dominican companies are now being subjected to by U.S. Federal authorities. Ortíz said that while U.S. companies receive minor sanctions, Dominican companies are raided and closed for the same violations. It is estimated that Dominican companies send to their relatives in the D.R. some US$1,300 million a year.

Corruption case sent to Supreme Court
The Attorney General's Office sent the case against Partido Reformista Social Cristiano deputy Adriano Sánchez Roa to the Supreme Court of Justice. Congressmen can only be judged by the Supreme Court of Justice. The present administration of the Banco Agrícola has accused deputy Sánchez Roa of malversation of RD$100 million during his term as administrator of the Banco Agrícola, the state agrarian bank. Reportedly, most of the payments were paid out to farmers for having sold rice to the Banco Agrícola. These persons denied having received the money or having delivered the rice. Adriano Sanchez Roa seeks to repeat as deputy for the province of Elías Piña.

International arbitrage for a one-sided contract
Legal advisors to the Dominican government and the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad (CDE), the state electricity utility, will be in Mexico, for the 5-6 March hearing of the case of CDE vs. Smith-Enron, a private energy supplier. The Dominican government is contesting the legality of the contract and cites that the nation is not obliged to honor the contract because the latter was not sanctioned by Congress as established by the Constitution for international obligations of the state. The CDE and the government will concur at the arbitrage court of the International Chamber of Commerce in Mexico. The CDE will contest the obligation of the CDE to pay for 185 megawatts irregardless of whether or not Smith-Enron supplies the energy. According to Hoy newspaper, Smith Enron has billed for 100%, but only supplied 70% of its total generation capacity
in 1996, and 83.6% in 1997. The general manager of the CDE, Temístocles Montas, has insisted that that contract was written up in the National Palace (Presidency) and that the general manager of the CDE at the time was instructed to sign just as a formality. The CDE is represented in the arbitration by lawyer Filiberto Agusti of the Washington, D.C. law firm Steptoe and Johnson and by Dominican lawyers Valentin Ramos of Ramos y Calzada; Jorge Guerrero of Markovitch & Guerrero; and Dr. Ramon Tapia Espinal.

Minister of Education places blame on the Police
Minister of Education, Ligia Cardona de Melo, criticized the National Police for its laissez-faire attitude in the eastern city of Higuey, where she said drug trafficking and drug consumption is on a rise. She said that most likely the 21-year old who assassinated professor Roberto Antonio González on Monday, was on drugs. The 27 year old English language teacher was killed in his classroom at a small neighborhood school, after he had reprimanding the intruder for interrupting his class.

Lighting up the colonial city
The Listín Diario newspaper reported that the project to light up the Colonial City of Santo Domingo is advancing. Now lit up, old Santo Domingo is one of the most attractive and romantic sites in the Caribbean. The project is a joint effort of the Agencia de Cooperación Española and the Dominican government. José Manuel Lausín, in charge of the project for the Spanish government agency, said that the first studies of what should be done began in July 1997 and that the implementation of the program got underway in January of this year. The project has been divided into three stages. The first stage calls for the lighting of the Calle El Conde and Columbus Park area. In the future, explains architect Saturnino Cisneros of the Agencia de Cooperación, the lamp posts will guide visitors by indicating the most important sites. More so, the lighting will contribute to the sense of security in the tourist areas, and will be an encouragement to businesses to open more shops, restaurants and bars which, in turn, will liven up the old city.
The project has a cost of RD$14 million, of which the Spanish government agency is contributing 50%.

US$50,000 dresses to be shown
Tonight, Thursday, 19 February, Dominican fashion designer Oscar de la Renta will show the designs he has created for the Pierre Balmain house of Paris. Top model Eugenia Silva and other 17 foreign models will be showing the collection. Attires to be exhibited range from US$20,000 to US$50,000, for a wedding dress. Alain Haveline, president of the Pierre Balmain house, will attend the show, "Un Oscar para los Niños," a benefit to gather funds for the children's orphanage that De la Renta maintains in La Romana.

The fight for the Palacio de los Deportes contract
Listin Diario reported that a conflict of business interests is behind the delays in repairing the Palacio de los Deportes, the main sports arena of the city of Santo Domingo, located at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. Since its inauguration in 1974, the sports dome has been the arena for local basketball championships, which this year will take place at the smaller volleyball pavilion also located in the sports complex. The Listín Diario reports that three different contractors are vying for the contract to repair the Palacio. Repairs, which have been estimated to cost upwards of RD$65 million, according to press reports, will permit the Palacio to host games of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Palacio was built in 1974 for the XII Central American and Caribbean Sports Games at a cost of RD$1.2 million. It has been repaired 11 times since then at a total cost of RD$214 million.

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