SAN JOSÉ (Costa Rica), April 26 —  Costa Rica’s president elect Rodrigo Chaves publicly apologised yesterday to two former World Bank colleagues who accused him of sexual harassment.

Economist Chaves was demoted in 2019 over the accusations and left the World Bank shortly afterwards following a 30-year career with the global financial institution.

Chaves previously insisted it had been merely “jokes” that were “misinterpreted due to cultural differences.”

“I deeply regret the things that happened more than 15 years ago and that affected my former colleagues at the World Bank, in such a way that they felt the need to file a harassment complaint against me,” said Chaves in a video shared on social media.

“I once again offer my sincere apologies to these colleagues, without reservation,” he said, adding that the cases had already been dismissed.

However, a World Bank report published by La Nacion newspaper in 2021 said that while the original complaint was dismissed, it had since been reopened following new accusations.

He was accused of improper conduct towards two young subordinates between 2008 and 2013.

According to the World Bank report, Chaves apparently tried to kiss one of the women on the lips before insisting on having a goodbye kiss on the cheek.

One woman accused him of making unwanted proposals and of questioning her about her private life.

The sexual harassment charge earned him a demotion in October 2019 to a position with no responsibilities and no prospects of a salary rise for three years.

He resigned around a month later, and took on the role of finance minister in President Carlos Alvarado’s government.

The charges were brought up frequently by his opponents and feminist organisations during the presidential campaign but his reputation was not hurt enough to prevent him from winning. — AFP