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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFEDS CONTINUE SENATE BRIBERY INVESTIGATION

FEDS CONTINUE SENATE BRIBERY INVESTIGATION

Although the bribery charges levied against former Sen. John Tutein by the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation don’t specifically name an accuser, the FBI on Monday didn’t deny that Tutein’s arrest on Friday stemmed from comments made by Sen. Allie Allison Petrus last May.
Legally, it wasn't necessary to disclose the senator’s name in the complaint against Tutein, according to James Weber, FBI special agent in charge based in Puerto Rico. As to the identity of the unnamed senator who spurred the investigation, Weber said, "inferences can be drawn" from Petrus’ comments in May.
At a May 21 Senate hearing on the proposal by St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser's Innovative Communication Corp. to give the V.I. government a thousand acres of Carambola land in return for 30 years of tax breaks, Petrus stated that Tutein, an ICC vice president, had offered him an envelope full of $100 bills last October in exchange for support on an upcoming issue related to the company.
During the Senate deliberations Tutein called the accusations a "nasty damn lie."
Calls to Petrus’ office weren’t returned on Monday.
At the same Senate hearing in May, Petrus also mentioned his belief that other senators had also been offered bribes, and that some had accepted.
Weber said he couldn’t say whether any specific senators are being investigated. Asked if any announcements would be made in the future concerning Tutein and other legislators, he remained tight-lipped.
"No, nothing beyond that the investigations are continuing," he said.
Senate President Vargrave Richards said he had not been contacted by the FBI and that, as far as he knew, neither had any of his colleagues.
Richards said he was "not going to speculate" on whether the federal government’s charges that Tutein attempted to bribe a fellow senator were true.
"It’s for the courts to decide," he said.

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