Former Puerto Rico governor arrested by FBI, her lawyer says

Former Puerto Rico governor arrested by FBI, her lawyer says

Certainly one of his attorneys, Peter John Porrata, informed CNN that Vázquez will plead not responsible to the costs.

Vázquez is the primary former governor to face federal expenses.

A former political guide to Vazquez and the president of a world financial institution have pleaded responsible to collaborating within the bribery scheme, in response to a press release from the Justice Division. A former FBI agent was additionally concerned within the alleged scheme, federal officers say.

From December 2019 to June 2020, the 62-year-old former governor allegedly conspired in a scheme with a number of folks to finance her marketing campaign for governor, in response to the Justice Division.

Vázquez allegedly acquired greater than $300,000 from two businessmen to fund political consultants throughout his marketing campaign, Stephen Muldrow, the US lawyer for the District of Puerto Rico, informed reporters Thursday.

Vazquez and others are charged with conspiracy, bribery of federal packages and sincere companies wire fraud.

The previous governor is called on three of seven counts in an indictment and faces a possible sentence of as much as 20 years in jail.

“The alleged bribery scheme reached the very best ranges of Puerto Rico’s authorities, threatening public confidence in our electoral processes and authorities establishments,” Assistant Legal professional Basic Kenneth A. Well mannered Jr. mentioned in a press release.

The bribes had been allegedly paid in alternate for Vázquez making appointments to the Workplace of the Commissioner of Monetary Establishments that benefited the businessmen concerned within the scheme, Muldrow mentioned.

Vázquez is predicted to look in US District Court docket in San Juan on Thursday.

Vázquez, a former Legal professional Basic, served as governor of the US territory from 2019 to 2021. Her appointment got here after disgraced former Governor Ricardo Rosselló was pressured to resign following island-wide protests towards his rule.

She turned Secretary of Justice in January 2017, with a mandate that included combating corruption on the island, and was an ally of Rosselló.

In 2018, Vázquez got here underneath hearth for allegedly intervening on her daughter’s behalf in a case stemming from a house theft. She confronted expenses of violating authorities ethics legal guidelines. However a choose later dominated there was not sufficient proof to arrest her.

Vázquez’s temporary tenure as governor was controversial.

His ties to the disgraced former governor drew scrutiny. Critics accused her of failing to open investigations towards members of her personal social gathering, particularly Rosselló’s dealing with and her administration of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

In January 2020, Puerto Ricans took to the streets of San Juan calling for his resignation after Hurricane Maria provides had been present in a warehouse within the metropolis of Ponce, greater than two years after the storm.

Later that yr, Puerto Rican officers confirmed that Vásquez was being investigated on suspicion of mishandling sources meant to mitigate earthquake harm on the island.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, who was elected governor after Vásquez, mentioned Thursday: “Below my administration there may be zero tolerance for corruption.”

Supreme Court rules that Puerto Ricans do not have a constitutional right to some federal benefits

“At this time we see as soon as once more that nobody is above the legislation in Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi, a member of the identical pro-Commonwealth social gathering as Vásquez, mentioned in Spanish by way of Twitter.

The arrest “actually impacts and damages the arrogance of our folks,” the governor mentioned.

“I reiterate that in my administration we are going to proceed to have a standard entrance with the federal authorities towards anybody who commits an improper act,” mentioned the governor.

“Wherever it comes from and whoever it might probably contain, in addition to promote initiatives and comply with up on the payments that I’ve introduced to fight corruption,” he mentioned.

In 2019, Rosselló selected Pierluisi as his successor.

His short-lived time period got here to an finish after simply 5 days when the Supreme Court docket of Puerto Rico declared his governorship unconstitutional.

Vázquez was later sworn in. “In gentle of the choice of the Supreme Court docket of Puerto Rico, I have to step apart and help the Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi had mentioned in a press release on the time.

Pierluisi later gained the election for the seat in November 2020.

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