Wanda Vázquez Garced charged in Puerto Rico bribery case

Wanda Vázquez Garced charged in Puerto Rico bribery case

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Federal regulation enforcement brokers arrested former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced on Thursday, charging her with a bribery scheme that was allegedly aimed toward financing her unsuccessful 2020 gubernatorial marketing campaign, the Justice Division mentioned.

Vázquez Garced was scheduled to look in federal court docket in Puerto Rico on Thursday afternoon.

Authorities mentioned that whereas Vázquez Garced was governor in 2019 and 2020, she allegedly acquired marketing campaign donations from a banker, Julio Martín Herrera Velutini, and a former FBI agent, Mark Rossini, who was advising the financial institution.

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Herrera Velutini’s financial institution was being investigated by the regulatory company that oversees monetary establishments in Puerto Rico. He and Rossini allegedly paid greater than $300,000 to consultants who supported the Vázquez Garced marketing campaign.

In change for marketing campaign donations, the governor reportedly mentioned she would appoint a brand new commissioner for the regulatory company chosen by Herrera Velutini. In February 2020, Vázquez Garced demanded the resignation of the pinnacle of the company. He appointed a brand new director a number of months later, in accordance with the federal indictment.

Vázquez Garced, Herrera Velutini and Rossini are charged with conspiracy, bribery of federal applications and wire fraud. If convicted on all counts, they face a most of 20 years in jail. The names of his protection attorneys weren’t instantly obtainable.

Rossini, the previous FBI agent,

“The alleged bribery scheme reached the very best ranges of the Puerto Rican authorities, threatening public belief in our electoral processes and authorities establishments,” he mentioned in a press release Thursday. “Nobody is above the rule of regulation.”

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Vázquez Garced, a member of the pro-statehood New Progressive Celebration, had a tumultuous entry into Puerto Rico’s highest political workplace.

In 2019, Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned amid a scandal brought on by the leaking of a chat that contained offensive messages about his opponents and the victims of Hurricane Maria.

The Secretary of State of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, then assumed the principle place. However the Puerto Rico Supreme Court docket in the end dominated that he took the oath on unconstitutional grounds, paving the way in which for Vázquez Garced to take workplace.

On the time, she was Puerto Rico’s secretary of justice, the territory’s prime authorized official. She confronted widespread distrust amongst residents over accusations that she mishandled the prosecution of members of her personal occasion. She denied these accusations.

Vázquez Garced did not obtain her occasion’s nomination for governor in 2020, dropping to Pierluisi.

It is a growing story.

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