The San Juan Daily Star
Venezuelan banker, financial consultant join ex-governor in seeking dismissal of corruption case
By The Star Staff
Julio Herrera Velutini, the owner of Bancrédito International Bank & Trust, and financial consultant Mark Rossini, both of whom are charged with committing corrupt acts along with former governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, on Tuesday asked the presiding judge to dismiss the case.
A week ago, Vázquez Garced sought a dismissal of the charges, arguing that the evidence in the case did not point to a crime. The two other defendants joined in her request for dismissal.
Herrera Velutini noted that the federal prosecution has to prove the existence of an “explicit quid pro quo or a specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.”
Rossini said the arguments presented in the case by Vázquez Garced and by Herrera Velutini are applicable to his case.
Herrera Velutini affirmed that it is “crucial” for prosecutors to demonstrate under a “high evidentiary standard” when the alleged thing of value is a contribution.
The Venezuelan financier said the accusatory document fails by alleging that the “thing of value” was a political campaign contribution without “complying with the” high evidentiary standard.
The indictment alleges that the alleged bribery scheme occurred during a January 2020 wedding attended by Herrera Velutini and Vázquez Garced.
According to the indictment, during the wedding, Vázquez Garced was offered general support for a potential electoral campaign, but that she had to resolve ongoing issues with the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) to obtain financial support.
The indictment alleges that Velutini asked the former governor to remove the OCIF head George Joyner because he was investigating the bank.
Herrera Velutini said the allegations do not constitute an agreement at all, asserting that “Vázquez did not agree to ‘resolve OCIF’ in exchange for some hypothetical contribution that they supposedly promised during the wedding.”