One of her lawyers, Peter John Porrata, told CNN that Vazquez pleads not guilty to the charges.
Vasquez is first former governor face federal fees.
Former political consultant for Vasquez and the President of en international bank pleaded guilty to participating in bribery scheme, according to a DOJ statement. BUT former FBI agent also participated in alleged scheme, federal officials say.
December 2019 to June 2020 62-year-old former the governor allegedly agreed in scheme with various individuals to fund her gubernatorial campaign, according to the Justice Department.
Vasquez allegedly received more over $300,000 from two businessmen to fund political consultants during her campaign Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for area of Puerto Rico, told reporters on Thursday.
Vasquez and others are charged with conspiracy, federal programs bribery and fraud with honest services.
Former governor’s name in three of seven accounts in indictment and face potential sentencing of up up to 20 years in prison.
“The alleged bribery scheme has reached highest levels of Puerto Rico government threatening public trust in our electoral processes and institutions of management,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. in statement.
Bribes were allegedly given in exchange for Vasquez makes appointments at the office of commissioner of Financial Institutions That Have Benefited Engaged Businessmen in scheme, Muldrow said.
Vasquez is expected to appear. in US District Court in San Juan on Thursday.
BUT former Secretary of Justice, Vasquez served as governor of US territories from 2019 to 2021. Her appointment came after the disgraced former Governor Ricardo Rossello was forced step down after protests across the island against his government.
She became a secretary of Justice in January 2017 — with a mandate that included the fight against corruption on island – and was an ally of Rossello.
In 2018, Vasquez was hit by fire for alleged interference on on behalf of of her daughter in case arising out of home theft. She is faced accusations of violation government ethics laws. But the judge later ruled that there was not enough evidence. arrest her.
Vasquez’s brief tenure as governor was controversial.
Her connections with the disgraced former The governor has checked. Critics accused her of refusal to open an investigation against members of her own party, especially Rossello and the appeal of his administration of in aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
In January 2020, Puerto Ricans took to the streets of San Juan is calling for her resignation after Hurricane Maria supplies were found in a warehouse in in city of Ponce, more than two years after the storm.
Later that year, Puerto Rican officials confirmed that Vazquez was under investigation. for suspicion of mismanagement of resources intended to mitigate earthquake damage on island.
Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi who was elected The post-Vazquez governor said Thursday: “Under my administration zero tolerance for corruption”.
“Today we see once again is not one above the law in Puerto Rico, Pierluisi, Member of the same commonwealth party as Vasquez said in Spanish via Twitter.
arrest “certainly affects and breaks confidence of our people“, the governor said.
“I repeat that in my administration we will continue to have common front with federal authorities against anyone who is doing something wrong,” the governor said.
“Wherever it comes from and whoever it concerns, as well as promoting initiatives and up on invoices that I submitted combat corruption,” he said.
In 2019, Rossello chose Pierluisi as his successor.
Vasquez was subsequently sworn in in. “AT light of in decision Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, I must step aside and support secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi said. in statement at the time.
Pierluisi then won elections for seat in November 2020.