Puerto Rico mayor, finance director face corruption charges

June 1, 2022 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A judge on Wednesday found sufficient evidence to order the arrest of the mayor and finance director of one of Puerto Rico’s largest cities accused in a multimillion-dollar corruption case.

José Guillermo Rodríguez, mayor of the western coastal city of Mayaguez, and its finance director are accused of embezzlement of public funds and breach of duty. Authorities allege the two diverted $9 million in public funds meant for improvements at a local trauma center and instead used the money in high-risk investments.

Guillermo’s lawyer, Harry Padilla, told reporters he does not believe there is any evidence to merit his client’s arrest.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi demanded that Guillermo resign immediately.

The mayor and finance director are the latest in a string of government officials in the U.S. territory to face state and federal charges amid a widespread crackdown on alleged corruption.