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Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez faces federal charges for bribery

Tom Hudson

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez was arrested Thursday morning on criminal corruption charges related to a bribery scheme where she allegedly accepted donations to her political campaign in exchange for favors to a bank executive on the island.

On Thursday morning, federal authorities said Vazquez had fired the head of a government office overseeing the island’s financial sector at the request of Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, the owner of Bancrédito, an international bank that operates in Puerto Rico, and former FBI agent Mark Rossini.

Officials said the pair promised through intermediaries to finance her 2020 gubernatorial campaign if she picked a replacement commissioner for the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico, which was auditing Herrera Velutini’s bank at the time. Herrera Velutini, who is a dual Venezuelan-Italian citizen, would choose the successor, officials said. Vázquez accepted the offer, receiving over $300,000 for political consultants into a political action committee associated with her gubernatorial campaign, said U.S. District Attorney General for Puerto Rico Stephen Muldrow.

Read more from our news partner, the Miami Herald.

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