The chairman of the board of directors of Bancredito International Bank & Trust, Julio M. Herrera Velutini, He resigned this Thursday from that position and from the governance of the international banking entity (EBI) after the filing of several charges for conspiracy and bribery by a federal grand jury.
In a written statement sent to this newspaper, The financial institution that Herrera Velutini founded in 2009 highlighted that the accusations unveiled this Thursday by the federal prosecutor’s office in San Juan are not directed against him and that Bancrédito continues to operate normally.
“The bank continues to operate normally and work closely and collaboratively with the banking authorities in Puerto Rico and at the federal level,” reads the statement from the institution, whose headquarters are located in Hato Rey.
The IBEs are financial entities authorized by the OCIF to establish themselves in Puerto Rico and from here offer services abroad.
In the case of Bancrédito, the EBI maintains business in Panama, the Bahamas and certain states such as Florida and New York.
This Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted the Venezuelan banker and economist on six charges that include conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud, and artifice to impede the right to honest services. According to the indictment, Herrera Velutini conspired with former Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, former Public Housing Administrator John Blakeman, former President and CEO of Bancrédito Frances M. Díaz, and consultant and former federal agent Mark T. Rossini. , so that the president removed from the direction of the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) the then commissioner George Joyner and got that regulator to relieve Bancrédito of the multiple corrective actions that were required in order to comply with the Entities Law International Banking Institutions of Puerto Rico and the federal bank secrecy regulations or BSA, in English.
For more than three decades, Herrera Velutini has been in charge of banking institutions and investment firms in Venezuela and Europe. In 2009 he left his native country in the midst of the economic crisis that occurred there and the processes of nationalization of banks and other companies promoted by the government of Hugo Chávez and continued by Nicolás Maduro.
There, according to a complaint admitted before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, one of the institutions directed by Herrera Velutini, called Banco Real-Banco de Desarrollo, was insolvent when in 2009, the banker sold his shares to the Chávez government, which which led to accusations against him. According to the story in that international forum, Banco Real’s position was so poor and illiquid that once it passed under government control, the Superintendence of Banks in that country was forced to intervene.
After establishing Bancrédito in Puerto Rio, various recent publications and journalistic reviews place Herrera Velutini doing business in London.
This Thursday, the federal prosecutor for the district of Puerto Rico, Stephen Muldrow, indicated that the federal prosecutor’s office would begin an extradition process against the banker and his consultant, Rossini, so that they respond to the accusations against them.
Since 2015, Bancrédito claims to be the victim of a “capricious” persecution process by the OCIF, a situation that, according to the accusation, would have motivated Herrera Velutini to use his influence and money to hinder the oversight work of the state regulator.
Following repeated breaches of OCIF guidelines last May, the regulator issued an order for the voluntary liquidation of EBI, a process still ongoing.
Last May, Herrera Velutini’s lawyer, Luis Delgado, denied that his client invested in the political campaign of Vázquez Garced and any accusation against him related to Banco Real in Venezuela.