Puerto Rico Official Says FBI Visited, Requested Information
(Bloomberg) -- Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources was visited by two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents earlier this month, Secretary Tania Vazquez Rivera said in a press release Monday.
Vazquez Rivera said she personally spoke with the special agents when they visited on Oct. 11. She was told she was not the target of the investigation, according to the press release, which underlined and italicized that point.
Additionally, Vazquez said her office -- known as the DRNA for its initials in Spanish -- had been served with a subpoena for information on Oct. 21, and that it was turned over on Oct. 23. She said the department would continue to cooperate in the investigation.
The press release didn’t say what the FBI was investigating, and the DRNA declined to clarify further. FBI spokesman Limary Cruz Rubio didn’t respond to a request for comment
Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero reported Monday that the investigation centers around the granting of contracts by the DRNA.
In recent months, Puerto Rico has seen several high-profile arrests. In July, the island’s former secretary of education and the former head of its health insurance administration were indicted along with the head of an accounting firm and three others. They face allegations of theft, money laundering and wire fraud.
Last month, two Federal Emergency Management Agency officials who oversaw the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and the former president of Cobra Acquisitions were also arrested on fraud and conspiracy charges linked to recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, which killed thousands.
Puerto Rico’s senate majority leader, Carmelo J. Rios-Santiago of the ruling New Progressive Party, has introduced a bill to combat corruption that would require government contractors to use software that would track hours worked, screen time used and subject matter handled.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.