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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor denies brother-in-law had any involvement in illegal campaign donations scheme

Gov. Pedro Pierlusi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia denied on Wednesday that his brother-in-law, Andrés Guillemard, was one of the people mentioned by Joseph Fuentes Fernández as participating in a scheme of illegal donations to the Salvemos a Puerto Rico (Save Puerto Rico) super political action committee (PAC).

Fuentes Fernández, president of Salvemos a Puerto Rico, reached an agreement with prosecutors on May 3 to be indicted on one count of conspiracy to falsify and conceal material facts in reports to the Federal Elections Commission sometime between March and November 2020. He pleaded guilty to falsely listing the names of straw donors, identified as Non-Profit 1 and Non-Profit 2, as the true sources of donations and by continuing to funnel money through the straw donors to Salvemos Puerto Rico.

In the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office detailed who were the real persons and entities that donated the money attributed to the shell companies. They were National Guard Exchange Military Store, Essential Insurance Services, AP Engineering Inc., JAAP LLC, Alejandro Brito Zubierreta, BAE FE LLC, Northshore Management Corp., Little Pictures, Arturo Díaz Angueira, and LAS Enterprises Inc.

The document refers to Individuals 1, 2 and 3, as well as Public Official 1, who is presumed to be Pierluisi. Individual 1 is described as an associate of Public Official 1.

A televised program asserted through anonymous sources that Individual No. 1 is Guillemard, husband of Caridad Pierluisi, who is the governor’s sister.

Caridad Pierluisi, in turn, was her brother’s campaign manager.

Pierluisi said his brother-in-law, who is an attorney, participated in his campaign but not in the PAC.

“Not in the slightest, no, neither he nor anyone, except the president and treasurer of the PAC, who was the one who is accused, the one who pleaded guilty and is being prosecuted,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “Certainly, when I say that there was no coordination with my [campaign ] committee, that applies to everyone who had any role in my campaign committee, including him.”

The governor also denied that he had sought any type of legal advice on that subject.

“I repeat that there was no coordination, between my campaign committee and that PAC, so there was no illegality at all,” he said.

Pierluisi also rejected the idea that any of the super PAC donors benefited directly from government contracts for such action.

“What you point out is impossible because those donations that were mentioned in the media, not to my knowledge, but I have read about it in the media, occurred when I was not governor, occurred when I was a candidate for governor, when there was no assumed office,” the governor said. “In other words, by definition it is impossible for that to have happened, but in any case I go back and say, for every donor that I had, in my campaign committee it is clear that they will not receive anything in return for that donation.”

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