A federal bench on Wednesday issued a seven-count charge sheet against the former governor Wanda Vasquez GarstuInternational banker Julio Herrera Velutini Y Mark RossiniA former agent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, in English).
In a press conference from the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in Puerto Rico, Hado Rey, head of the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in Puerto Rico, Stephen MuldrowIt has been reiterated several times that the present case does not contain or allege any illegal activity on the part of the current governor. Peter Pierluzzi.
Briefly, the former governor was charged with three counts of conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud.
According to the federal indictment, between December 2019 and June 2020, Vasquez Corset participated in a bribery scheme with several others, including Herrera Velutini and Rossini, to finance the then-governor’s 2020 election campaign.
Herrera Velutini owns Pancredito, an international bank based in San Juan. Rossini, for his part, is a former FBI agent who, according to Muldrow, provided consulting services to Herrera Velutini and “facilitated the payment of consultants to support Vasquez Karst’s election campaign.”
How the $300,000-plus bribery scheme went
Beginning in 2019, Herrera Velutini Bank faced an audit by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the government agency that oversees banking institutions on the island, the indictment describes.
“Through intermediaries, Herrera Vellutini and Rossini promised to provide economic financing to the Vasquez corset campaign in exchange for the completion of Pancredito’s audit,” the indictment states.
Federal authorities allege that Vasquez accepted Corset bribes and in February 2020 demanded the resignation of the person who headed the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and placed another official at that address in May.
In addition, after Vázquez Garcet’s defeat in the August 2020 primaries as gubernatorial candidate, Herrera Velutini saw an opportunity to bribe his “successor”, who was “representative of the authority A.
“Herrera Velutini allegedly used middlemen to deliver his bribes,” the indictment points out. And the banker allegedly asked “a representative of Officer A” to pay $25,000 to a political action group that was expected to complete an audit against his bank.
In total, the bribery scheme was worth more than $300,000, the indictment and information provided by federal authorities indicate.
The indictment alleges that Herrera Velutini and Rossini promised to fund Vasquez Corset’s campaign in exchange for the then-governor firing the commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico (OCIF) as a result of an audit by OCIF. Herrera Velutini to the bench in 2019.
Read the charge sheet:
The former governor accepted the offer in December 2020. As part of the deal, Multrow added, Vázquez Garced agreed to name a new OCIF commissioner to be chosen by Herrera Velutini.
“In return, they paid over $300,000 to political consultants to support the governor’s campaign,” Muldrow said.
If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Herrera Velutini is in the United Kingdom and the former federal agent is in Madrid.
John Blakeman, a former gubernatorial campaign contributor and fundraiser who pleaded guilty after a plea deal with the federal prosecutor’s office — and Francis Díaz, CEO of an international bank owned by Herrera — participated in the bribery scheme. Velutini.
“The alleged scheme of bribery in the government of Puerto Rico has reached the highest levels, threatening public confidence in its electoral processes and government institutions.” Assistant Federal Attorney for the Criminal Division of the Federal Department of Justice Kenneth A. Pollitt said.
Both are Diaz As Blakeman They had already pleaded guilty to federal authorities, Muldrow recalled. He added that each could face a maximum jail term of five years.
“Today’s arrest is not a cause for celebration, it is unfortunate that once again we are stopped here because of the behavior of public officials,” said the director of the FBI in Puerto Rico. Joseph Gonzalez.