Ex-FBI agent turns himself in to face criminal case in Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Former FBI agent Mark Rossini, who has been indicted in a corruption case against a former governor of Puerto Rico, turned himself in to federal authorities in U.S. territory on Tuesday and said no guilty, officials say.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office told The Associated Press that Rossini’s lawyer contacted authorities just days after former Governor Wanda Vázquez was arrested to hand over his client.

Rossini is charged with conspiracy, bribery under a federal program and honest services wire fraud. He pleaded not guilty in a brief court appearance in which a judge allowed him to live in the continental United States but not in Spain, where he is receiving treatment for cancer. However, the judge said Rossini could travel to Spain for treatment.

His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last Thursday, hours after Vázquez was arrested by FBI agents, federal officials announced they were looking for Rossini, who was in Spain.

Rossini was an FBI agent from approximately 1991 to 2008, when he resigned as part of a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to criminally accessing a sensitive FBI database at personal purposes. Most of the searches were linked to Anthony Pellicano, an infamous private investigator for Hollywood stars who was charged in 2006 with bugging celebrities and bribing a police officer.

Authorities said Rossini provided consulting services to an Italian-Venezuelan banker who promised to financially support Vázquez’s 2020 campaign for governor in exchange for his removal from office as commissioner of the Porto financial institutions commissioner. Rico and the appointment of a new banker. . The banker, identified as Julio Herrera Velutini and founder of Bancredito International Bank & Trust, is believed to be in the UK and faces charges of conspiracy, corruption and fraud.

Authorities said it was looking for a new commissioner after the bank came under scrutiny for apparently suspicious financial transactions.

After the installation of a new commissioner, authorities said Herrera and Rossini paid more than $300,000 to political consultants to support Vázquez’s campaign.

On Tuesday, the new commissioner announced that the bank was voluntarily liquidated.

“What began in 2019 with a routine examination of one of the oldest and largest international banking entities operating in Puerto Rico today reaches its final chapter,” Commissioner Natalia Zequeira said.

She said the process could take up to six months and her office will ensure the bank meets its obligations to all of its customers. The bank was also ordered to pay $250,000 in penalties.

Banking officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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