Wanda Vázquez Garced charged in bribery case in Puerto Rico

to comment

Federal law enforcement agents arrested former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on Thursday, charging her with a bribery scheme allegedly aimed at financing her failed 2020 campaign. gubernatorial campaign, the Justice Department said.

Vázquez Garced was scheduled to appear in federal court in Puerto Rico later Thursday.

Officials said that while Vázquez Garceda was governor in 2019 and 2020, she allegedly took campaign donations from banker Julio Martin Herrera Velutini and former FBI agent Mark Rossini, who advised the bank.

Puerto Rico’s cryptocurrency scene is booming, but there is a backlash

The regulatory agency that oversees Puerto Rico’s financial institutions has been investigating Herrera Velutini’s bank. He and Rossini allegedly paid more than $300,000 to consultants who supported Vázquez Garcedo’s campaign.

In exchange for campaign donations, the governor allegedly said she would appoint a new commissioner to the regulatory agency of Herrera Velutini’s choosing. in 2020 in February, Vázquez Garced demanded the resignation of the head of the agency. It hired a new director a few months later, according to the federal indictment.

Vazquez Garceda, Herrera Velutini and Rossini are charged with conspiracy, federal program bribery and wire fraud. If convicted of all charges, they face up to 20 years in prison. The names of their defenders were not immediately available.

Rossini, a former FBI agent,

“The alleged bribery scheme reached the highest levels of the Puerto Rican government, threatening public confidence in our electoral processes and governing institutions,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., who heads the Justice Department’s criminal division. Thursday’s statement. “No one is above the rule of law.”

Puerto Rico has sworn in a new governor, its third in less than a week, following the court ruling

Vázquez Garceda, a member of the pro-government New Progressive Party, stormed into Puerto Rico’s highest political office.

in 2019 governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned amid a scandal caused by a leaked conversation that contained offensive messages about his opponents and victims of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Secretary of State Pedro Pierluisi was then sworn in to the highest office. However, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ultimately ruled that he was sworn in for unconstitutional reasons, and Vázquez Garced took office.

At the time, she was Puerto Rico’s secretary of justice, the territory’s top legal official. She has faced significant public censure over allegations that she mishandled prosecutions of members of her own party. She denied the allegations.

Vázquez Garced did not receive his party’s nomination for governor in 2020 and lost to Pierluisi.

This is an evolving story.

Leave a Comment