Sunday, September 22, 2019

Puerto Rico Justice secretary threatens to hold ousted Treasury chief in contempt

By on June 28, 2019

Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez (CB file photo)

Does not discard sharing probe findings with federal authorities

SAN JUAN — Former Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado Gautier did not show up to an appointment Friday at the Justice Department to explain his allegations of the existence of an “institutional mafia” in the Treasury Department, Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced confirmed.

Maldonado’s lawyer, Mayra López Mulero, said Maldonado, who was ousted last week from his government roles, had informed the Justice Department Thursday that he would not appear for the appointment, thus was surprised Vázquez Garced reacted as if she had not been aware Maldonado would not show up.

Former Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado (CB file photo)

López Mulero said Maldonado needed more time to prepare for questioning. Nevertheless, in a statement, Vázquez Garced threatened to hold the former Treasury secretary and Office of Management and Budget director in contempt.

“In the event of his unjustified failure to appear, we will issue instructions for an official citation to be filed under the contempt and any other remedy that may be appropriate,” Vázquez Garced wrote.

Maldonado had been summoned for 10:30 a.m. to the Public Integrity Division to provide a statement about his allegations of Treasury corruption and that he had been the victim of extortion.

The Justice secretary said Maldonado did not need to appear with an attorney because allegations usually come from a victim, “to a certain extent,” and that prosecutor Maricarmen Rodríguez Barea was appointed to handle the case

Regarding Raúl Maldonado Nieves, the son of Maldonado Gautier, Vázquez Garced said he will also have to appear before the Justice Department following his remarks, which accuse Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of corruption.

Puerto Rico’s principal legal adviser also indicated it is possible that the findings of her department’s investigation will be shared with federal authorities.

On Monday, Maldonado was ousted of his positions as Treasury secretary, director of the Office of Management and Budget and chief financial officer of the government after denouncing the existence department-wide corruption in the Treasury Department such as influence peddling and the illegal issuance of licenses. The governor said he should have been informed and lost confidence in the official.

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