Herrera Velutini contributed thousands of dollars to Boris Johnson’s party, according to the Financial Times

While by 2019, in Puerto Rico, he began to pull the strings to financially support the political aspiration of former Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced in order to bend the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF), according to the indictment of a federal grand jury In the UK, banker Julio M. Herrera Velutini has become a major donor to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the British Conservative Party, according to The Financial Times.

According to the financial publication, since Johnson arrived at 10 Downing Street – the residence of the Prime Minister in the United Kingdom – around the year 2019, Herrera Velutini has donated more than half a million pounds sterling, or about $600,000, including in that figure a contribution of about $120,000 days before the general election.

Herrera Velutini’s donations to the party of the so-called “Tories” in English were made through Britannia Financial Group, a financial services conglomerate that offers wealth or wealth management services and securities trafficking, among others.

Herrera Velutini has Italian citizenship

El Nuevo Día examined UK corporate records and confirmed that Herrera Velutini established the conglomerate in 2016 under the name Helvetica Financial Group. Two years later, the firm owned by the Venezuelan-born banker changed its name to Britannia Financial.

Although Herrera Velutini would have been born in Venezuela in December 1971 and for about six years he would have had his main residence in London, in the corporate records of Britannia, it is indicated that the man is an economist by profession and an Italian citizen.

On May 11, Herrera Velutini left his position as director of Britannia Financial, denotes the file of the conglomerate in which other relatives of Herrera Velutini are also directors. Among these, Julio César and José Francisco Herrera.

The departure of the banker from Britannia coincides with the moment when, in Puerto Rico, the alleged conspiracy that he orchestrated with Vázquez Garced and former federal agent Mark T. Rossini and involved John Blakeman and Frances M. Díaz Fosse to control the regulatory processes in the OCIF.

In short, a federal grand jury alleges that the defendants -with the help of an investor residing in Puerto Rico and members of Vázquez Garced’s team while he occupied La Fortaleza- entered into a pattern of bribery. In this ruse, the banker would pay for the services of a political consultant for the former governor and in exchange, a person recommended by Herrera Velutini would be appointed head of the OCIF, with the aim of changing the regulations that govern International Banking Entities ( EBI) in Puerto Rico. Above all, the indictment indicates, Herrera Velutini sought to free Bancrédito International Bank & Trust, an entity he founded in 2009, from the corrective measures required by the OCIF to correct multiple operational deficiencies, and prevent the disclosure of suspicious transactions for money laundering. to federal authorities.

Last Thursday, the same day that the United States Department of Justice unveiled the accusation, Herrera Velutini resigned from the presidency of the directors of Bancrédito.

On that day, the public ministry arrested Vázquez Garced, while it was indicated that it would begin the procedures for the extradition of Herrera Velutini, who is understood to reside in London, and Rossini, who according to the authorities resides in Spain.

Sponsor of the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

According to the Financial Times, Britannia Financial was among the sponsors of the concert held in the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s accession to the British throne.

The financial publication details that the accusations against Herrera Velutini have put additional pressure on the British Conservative Party, which is in a primary process to define who will be Johnson’s successor and whose fundraising strategies are in the hands of Ben Elliot.

Johnson, a key figure in promoting the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union or the so-called Brexit, resigned on July 7 after several controversies and, in particular, due to the so-called “Partygate”, a scandal in which Johnson is singled out. for having promoted and held multiple meetings and parties at the government residence while restrictive measures were applied to the population in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in that country.

According to the publication, William Benjamin (Ben) Elliot, co-chairman and collector of the British Conservative Party, would have brought donations to that community from those who were his clients at Hawthorn Advisors, a public relations and consulting firm co-founded by Elliot.

Among Elliot’s clients at Hawthorn is or was Britannia Financial Group, judging by several press releases issued by Herrera Velutini’s company and examined by El Nuevo Día.

Herrera Velutini has invested at least $500,000 in local politics

According to the indictment unveiled last Thursday, while attending the wedding of “Individual C”, held on January 4, 2020, Herrera Velutini assured John Blakeman, then a political collaborator of the former governor, in a text message, he had with about $2 million for his political campaign if he acceded to his claims regarding the OCIF.

As part of this financial support, Herrera Velutini would pay for the services of a consulting firm based in the United Kingdom. Executives from said firm, accompanied by Herrera Velutini and the also accused former federal agent Mark T. Rossini would have met with “Individual C”, Vázquez Garced and others in a hotel in the County on February 28, 2020.

In one part of the indictment, text messages are cited in which it is indicated that said services would cost the banker some $500,000. But in other texts sent by Rossini to executives of the British consultancy, it is indicated that the hiring of the consulting firm required an initial payment of about 250,000 pounds sterling (£) or about $300,000. Then, starting in March, monthly payments of about £200,000 ($240,000) would be made or until the November 2020 general election.

Herrera Velutini, according to the accusation, would have made the first payment directly to the consultant and the other payments would be channeled through a political action committee or SuperPac, whose name is unknown.

The indictment specifically alleges that Herrera Velutini and Rossini channeled two payments as part of the alleged conspiracy to support Vázquez Garced’s campaign: a payment of $315,000 to the British consulting firm and another for $40,000.

Judging by the indictment, if Vázquez Garced had won the primary and the British firm had continued advising the former governor until the general election, Herrera Velutini would have invested or helped raise around $1.9 million in exchange for bringing down Puerto Rico’s state financial regulator.

In 2021, when Vázquez Garced did not prevail in the political contest, Herrera Velutini contributed another $50,000 to the SuperPac that favored Governor Pedro Pierluisi and that the authorities used as a decoy to reaffirm the banker’s conspiracy.

In other words, according to the federal indictment, specifically, directly or through third parties, Herrera Velutini invested at least $400,000 through the alleged conspiracy.

Apart from that investment, El Nuevo Día reviewed before Herrera Velutini began donating to politicians in Puerto Rico since 2016, just one year after the OCIF began to identify operational deficiencies in Bancrédito.

According to data from the Federal Election Commission, between 2016 and 2021, Bancrédito Holding, parent company of the EBI and owned by Herrera Velutini, invested another $125,000, both in favor of the gubernatorial candidates of the Popular Democratic Party and the New Progressive Party.

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