Although the bribery charges levied against former Sen. John Tutein by the U.S. attorney and the FBI dont specifically name an accuser, the FBI on Monday didnt deny that Tuteins arrest Friday stemmed from comments made by Sen. Allie-Allison Petrus last May.
Legally, it wasn't necessary to disclose the senators 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 1,000 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 Monday werent returned.
At the same Senate hearing in May, Petrus also mentioned his belief that other senators had been offered bribes, and that some had accepted.
Weber said he couldnt say whether any specific senators are being investigated. Asked if announcements would be made in the future concerning Tutein and other legislators, he said, "No, nothing beyond that the investigations are continuing."
Senate President Vargrave Richards said he had not been contacted by the FBI and that, as far as he knows, neither had any of his colleagues.
Richards said he was "not going to speculate" on whether the federal governments charges that Tutein attempted to bribe a fellow senator are true.
"Its for the courts to decide," he said.