(CNN Spanish) — Puerto Rico’s former governor Wanda Vasquez has been indicted on bribery charges related to financing her 2020 election campaign. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Vasquez was arrested early Thursday morning in San Juan and is expected to appear in court in Puerto Rico in the next few hours.
Peter John Porata, one of Vasquez’s lawyers, says his client will not plead guilty to the charges.
According to the FBI, between 2019 and 2020, Vasquez’s political advisers received more than $300,000 from various international bankers to finance his election campaign for governor of Puerto Rico, according to the indictment.
As described in a press conference by Puerto Rico’s federal prosecutor Stephen Muldrow, the payment was made in exchange for Vasquez’s appointment to the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions to benefit businessmen allegedly involved in the bribery scheme.
Vásquez served as Governor of Puerto Rico from 2019 to 2021, and before that was Secretary of Justice.
Vasquez’s tenure as governor was controversial.
In January 2020, Puerto Ricans took to the streets of San Juan to call for his resignation after supplies for Hurricane Maria victims were found in a warehouse in the city of Ponce two years after the storm, CNN reported.
That same year, Puerto Rican authorities confirmed that Wanda Vásquez was being investigated on suspicion of mishandling resources earmarked to mitigate damage caused by an earthquake in January of that year.
“They have done me great injustice”
Puerto Rico’s former governor has pleaded not guilty after leaving court and being read the charges he faces.
“I reiterate to my people and to all of you that I am innocent and you have committed a great injustice,” Vasquez told the media. “I can tell you, as I said before in an interview, that I am innocent, that I have committed no crime, no wrongdoing,” he added. “Now it is my turn to defend myself against all they have done, but I assure you they have done me a great injustice.”
When he appeared before a judge, bail was set at $50,000.
Vasquez was arrested Thursday in San Juan on bribery charges related to financing his 2020 election campaign.