Ex-Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Arrested For Bribery

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Politics

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez was arrested Thursday on bribery charges related to the financing of her 2020 campaign, marking the first time that a former leader of the island faces federal charges.Two other unidentified people were arrested along with her, said an official, who was not authorized to talk about the federal case.AdvertisementVázquez is accused of engaging in a bribery scheme from December 2019 through June 2020 with several people, including a Venezuelan-Italian bank owner, a former FBI agent, a bank president and a political consultant.The consultant, identified as John Blakeman, and the bank president, identified as Frances Díaz, have pleaded guilty to participating in the bribery scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.In early 2019, the bank owned by Julio Martín Herrera Velutini was being scrutinized by Puerto Rico’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions.Authorities said Herrera and Mark Rossini, the former FBI agent who provided consulting services to Herrera, allegedly promised to financially support Vázquez’s 2020 campaign for governor in exchange for Vázquez dismissing the commissioner and appointing a new one of Herrera’s choosing.AdvertisementAuthorities said Vázquez accepted the bribery offer and in February 2020 demanded the commissioner’s resignation. She then was accused of appointing a former consultant for Herrera’s bank as the new commissioner in May 2020. After the move, officials said Herrera and Velutini paid more than $300,000 to political consultants to support Vázquez’s campaign.After Vázquez lost the primary to P …

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