Puerto Rico gov appoints anti-money laundering consultant as Financial Institutions commissioner

May 14 2020 | Caribbean Business




Photo by: Ricardo Arduengo



SAN JUAN – In a news release Thursday, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced she has selected Víctor Rodríguez Bonilla to head the Financial Institutions Commissioner’s Office (OCIF by its Spanish acronym), and will send his appointment to the Senate for consideration, along with Orlando López Belmonte’s, who she picked to become secretary of the Family Department.

Rodríguez Bonilla earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón and a master’s degree in banking from the University of Oklahoma. The appointee is president and CEO of AML Advisory Expertise Consulting LLC, “a specialized, Anti-Money Laundering and Global Economic Sanctions Programs professional services firm,” according to his LinkedIn account.

“In addition, from 2001 to 2006, he served as Corporate Manager of Global Sanctions for Popular, Inc. in the Corporate Compliance Division to provide guidance at the corporate level on all applicable Anti-Money Laundering Laws, Counter-Terrorism and US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) statutory provisions across Popular, Inc. which includes Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, U.S. Popular Community Bank Business Operations and related entities,” reads the Vázquez administration release, which seems to be a translation of the description Rodríguez posted on his LinkedIn account.

The consultant also worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), “responding to the New York Regional Office, where he belonged to the Puerto Rico office as Investigations Specialist Examiner in the Liquidation and Investigation Unit, and was assigned by the FDIC to perform financial criminal investigations, such as Operation Greenback related to the White Collar Crime and Money Laundering activities in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region,” the release continued.

“I am absolutely certain that both the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions and our financial community are firmly committed to collaborating with our government so that the economy of Puerto Rico becomes solid and avant-garde, to serve as an example to other jurisdictions similar to ours. I wish to reiterate my total commitment to the government effort for the benefit of all citizens and that they have the confidence that our financial system is a healthy one, and that they will also have a government agency that will rigorously monitor the financial health of our financial institutions,” Rodríguez Bonilla was quoted as saying.

The other nominee, López Belmonte, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in accounting from the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus.

He has been “offering consulting services in risk management, cost control and service optimization. In 2009, he served as undersecretary of the [Family Department] and was municipal secretary of the municipality of Bayamón from 2010 to 2015,” La Fortaleza said.

Between 1996 and 2000, he was the budget director of the Child Support Services Administration (Asume by its Spanish acronym), “where he worked in financial planning, public policy analysis, administration, and the agency’s bidding and procurement process.”

The release quotes him as saying: “We appreciate the opportunity and trust that the honorable governor has given us in appointing us to this important position. We have the experience and the commitment to carry out this task and we trust that we will achieve results promptly for the benefit of our participants.”

The governor said she thanks “both professionals for their availability to enter public service at a time when Puerto Rico faces challenges due to the earthquakes that affected our southern region since December, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a doubt, they have great challenges ahead and I am confident that their work will benefit our people.”

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