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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Herrera Velutini may have struggled to maintain control over the OCIF: “The snake is beheaded”

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After former governor Wanda Vazquez appointed his compliance adviser – Victor Rodriguez Bonilla – to head the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) and Pedro Pierlusi Urrutia won the 2020 elections, banker Julio M. Herrera Velutini He continued with his plan to take control of the financial regulator and even expressed interest in removing Natalia Zekira Diaz, the successor to his recommendation, according to federal officials.

Herrera Velutini, Vazquez Garced and federal agent, Mark T. According to a federal jury’s indictment against Rossini, once the former Justice Secretary could not win the primary in the New Progressive Party (PNP), the banker decided to donate to the campaigns of Pierlucci Urrutia and free-state campaigner Charlie Delgado.

But once Pierlucci Urrutia won the governorship and the administration changed, the banker to his OCIF recommendation, Rodriguez Bonilla, resumed his efforts to control the regulatory agency, according to the federal indictment against him.

Last May, through his lawyer Luis Delgado, he denied political donations to the former president.

Specifically, the indictment reads, between the months of April and August of last year, Herrera sued John Blakeman, the former administrator of public housing, and the president of Bancredito, Frances M. Through Diaz Fosse, made himself available to contribute to a committee. Political action (superpack, in English) that would have been made in favor of Peerlusi Urrutia. In return for a $50,000 contribution, Herrera Velutini asked Witness 1, posing as the governor’s representative, to turn over Mollero, the regulator of the OCIF.

Blakeman and Diaz Fosse pleaded guilty to the acts last March.

But when offering some details of the investigation, federal prosecutor for the District of Puerto Rico, Stephen J. Muldrow said at a news conference that Peerlusi had no responsibility in the Urrutia investigation, nor with Superpack that would benefit him.

Herrera Velutini. operation to confirm the interest of

And it is that the Political Action Committee, identified in the indictment as “Superpack 2”, was created by “Witness 1” at the request of federal officials.

Through this greed and the involvement of an OCIF officer who cooperated with the investigation, federal officials were able to confirm Herrera Velutini’s interest in controlling the OCIF. This, in order to exempt Bancredito International Bank and Trust from new regulatory measures against it, which will be implemented with a Memorandum of Understanding or Memorandum of Understanding in English, and to prevent network investigations to detect financial crimes (FinCEN ). It is the federal agency to enforce the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and regulations aimed at preventing money laundering, or AML.

It is understood that “Witness 1” is public accountant Joseph “Joy” Fuentes, who created the superpack “Save Puerto Rico” and blamed that organization for concealing the identities of donors in order to support the candidacy of Pierlucci Urrutia.

“The commissioner’s office is to be purged,” Herrera Velutini would have written in a text message dated April 23, 2021, to his subordinate Diaz Fosse, the allegation says.

About six days later, Díaz wrote to his boss to indicate that he had arranged a meeting with Governor Pierlucci’s men, to which Herrera Velutini used prayer icons (emojis), the words “amen” and “you know”. What do you have?” to do”.

In another message, on the same 29 April, Herrera Velutini wrote to Diaz Fosse to indicate that “the snake is beheaded”, to which the banker replied “there is no other way”.

Pierlucci Urrutia arrived at La Fortaleza on January 2, 2021, and a week later, he appointed Zequeira Diaz to the OCIF.

Zekira Diaz, a lawyer specializing in banking compliance matters, came to OCIF knowing that the unit was facing budget problems and did not have enough staff to carry out its oversight tasks. He also knew that Puerto Rico’s name had caused concern among federal financial regulators, which was recorded in a US Treasury report,

Last year, Zekira Diaz began advocating for a higher budget, revision of pay scales and recruiting new personnel, to address OCIF’s operational problems.

In parallel, the counsel decided to emphasize the supervision of banking entities and international financial institutions (EBIs) and (EFIs), respectively, participating in the indications of the Federal Treasury.

Thus, when Zekira Diaz sought to strengthen the OCIF, Herrera Velutini sought to protect its interests, donating “Superpack 2” promoted by Witness 1″.

An MoU would be done by exempting Bancredito from filing certain suspicious activity reports (SARs) when it comes to Herrera Velutini’s bank accounts and controlled companies, in addition to opposing new regulatory terms and preventing FinCEN’s investigation. ; The banker was interested in a favorable report from OCIF towards the bank he had set up and “that some employees be removed from their positions.”

According to sources in this newspaper, Herrera Velutini was interested in the dismissal of examinees who had taken the Bancredito exam.

Currently, due to non-compliance with OCIF, Bankredito faces a voluntary liquidation order from the state financial regulator.

“Paid musician doesn’t play well”

Taking into account that for Herrera Velutini, according to some text messages in the federal allegation, “the paid musician does not play well”, it was not until he had received certainty that the OCIF In his claims, the banker would transfer money from his personal account “in London”, possibly to an account in Puerto Rico, which was owned by Bancredito.

Federal officials gave Herrera Velutini the certainty he needed.

On June 9, 2021, Blakeman wrote to Witness 1, believed to be accountant Joseph “Joy” Fuentes, that “the current commissioner (Natalia Zekira) was required to call the bank for a meeting and sign an agreement, Joe Julio (Herrera Velutini) we talked about”.

Two days later, at the instructions of federal officials, an OCIF official called Blakeman to inform him that “he was addressing his concerns.”

Blakeman then wrote a text message to “Witness 1”, saying: “Call received!! Very cool. I’ve already told Francis. Late for Julio, but I’ll call him tomorrow.” “

In the same month, Herrera Velutini confirmed that he would be collaborating on Superpack 2.

On August 10, 2021, a Bancredito official authorized the transfer of $25,000 from that EBI account in FirstBank to an account with Citibank with an expiration of 9763, with an expiration of 0116.

According to the Federal Election Commission registry on the same date, SuperPack “Save Puerto Rico” recorded a $25,000 donation by “Bancreto Holding” and that SuperPack’s bank account is located at a Citibank branch in the federal capital.

by El Nuevo Dias the allegation against …

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