Officials investigating death of Puerto Rico bank executive
SAN JUAN (Reuters) - The FBI is investigating allegations that high-ranking bank officials in Puerto Rico conspired to have a former Doral Bank executive killed after he claimed he uncovered fraud, the U.S. attorney for the district of Puerto Rico said on Tuesday.
Maurice Spagnoletti, 56, was shot multiple times while driving home from work to the fashionable Condado beachfront district in rush-hour traffic in June 2011. Authorities have described the shooting as an apparent contract killing, but have made no arrests.
"We have had some leads, but not enough to bring charges. That's why we have been placing more emphasis on this case. It is very important to us," said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, who added that the FBI was investigating the Spagnoletti shooting.
Spagnoletti's family filed a wrongful death and racketeering lawsuit on Friday against the chief executive and four other high-ranking officials at the bank where he worked at the time of his death.
Spagnoletti was chief operating officer at Doral Bank, when he uncovered alleged fraudulent accounting and improper payments by the bank, according to the lawsuit filed by his widow and daughter.
U.S. officials will examine the information in the lawsuit, Rodriguez said.
"All angles are being investigated ... Nothing is being discarded," Rodriguez said.
Doral Financial Corporation, the bank's holding company, issued a statement saying the lawsuit "is false, frivolous and has absolutely no legal basis."
It said the bank "has been fully cooperating with the investigating authorities and we will continue to aid the investigation, as we have done since it was started."
Spagnoletti received warnings and threats after he sought to have a senior bank employee dismissed for allegedly making hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper payments, the lawsuit said.
Doral Bank has 26 branches in Puerto Rico, Florida and New York and nearly $6 billion in assets. It is Puerto Rico's sixth largest bank, and second largest mortgage lender.
(Reporting by Reuters in San Juan; Additional reporting and editing by David Adams; Editing by Stacey Joyce)