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Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Charged With Corruption

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez, who served from 2019-2021, is being charged by U.S. authorities for corruption during her 2020 election campaign, Reuters reports. The Department of Justice said Vazquez is charged with conspiracy, federal programs bribery and honest services wire fraud. Vazquez denies the charges. Authorities say a Venezuelan-Italian bank owner and a former FBI agent paid $300,000 to political consultants supporting Vazquez in exchange for political favors.

Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, the owner of bank Bancredito, allegedly asked Vazquez to replace a regulator with a hand-picked leader to oversee an audit. The two may have coordinated with former FBI agent Mark Rossini to carry out the bribe. After Vazquez lost the primary election in 2020, Herrera attempted to bribe her successor. Puerto Rico’s current governor Pedro Pierluisi is not under investigation. Herrera tried to bribe the current governor to end the audit of Bancredito but was unsuccessful. Frances Diaz, former president and chief executive officer of Bancredito, is accused of conspiring with Herrera to try to bribe Pierluisi. John Blakeman, one of Vazquez’s campaign coordinators, also allegedly worked with Herrera and Rossini to bribe Vazquez and attempt to bribe Pierluisi.


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