US authorities have arrested the former Governor of Puerto Rico for various corruption-related crimes.
The Department of Justice charged Wanda Vazquez, the former Governor of Puerto Rico (from 2019 to 2021), with conspiracy, federal programs bribery, and honest services wire fraud.
In a statement, the department of justice said “Today’s charges, while certainly remarkable in many respects, are yet another example in allegations of corporate corruption aimed at elected officials in the United States. The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable those who wrongly believe there is one rule of law for the powerful and another for the powerless. No one is above the rule of law.”
According to court filings, prosecutors allege that a Venezuelan-Italian bank owner and a former FBI agent paid $300,000 to political consultants supporting the former governor’s campaign and in exchange received political favors.
Specifically, the Venezuelan-Italian bank owner (Herrera Velutini) contributed $300,000 on the condition that the governor would appoint a new government commissioner. After being elected, the former governor appointed a new commissioner that turned out to be a former consultant to the Venezuelan-Italian bank owner.
The former governor’s attorney has released a statement on behalf of his client saying “I can tell the people of Puerto Rico that I have not committed any crime, that I have not engaged in any illegal or incorrect conduct, as I have always said.”