Widow of US banker gunned down in Puerto Rico pressures FBI to solve murder

Bank executives accused in lawsuit of complicity in alleged contract killing

The wife of a US-born banker who was gunned down by a hired killer two years ago in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has accused his former bosses and colleagues in a federal lawsuit of being responsible for his murder.

The lawsuit, which outlines details of the unsolved killing of Maurice Spagnoletti, a 56-year-old executive vice president at Doral Financial Corporation, was partly filed to pressure the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office to resolve the case, sources told EL PAÍS on Tuesday.

Spagnoletti was gunned down on June 15, 2011 on a freeway during rush-hour traffic in San Juan by gunmen who had been trailing him.

News of the senior banker’s murder sent shockwaves throughout the financial sector in the United States. Doral also has offices in New York and Florida.

His wife, Marisa Spagnoletti, alleges that her husband was planning on reporting banking irregularities, including fraudulent payments to contractors and the granting of fictitious loans by some Doral bank executives, to federal regulators.

She filed the lawsuit to make public what the FBI already knows"

“Spagnoletti continually questioned the accounting practices of the firm, as he did not believe the reporting to be accurate,” states the suit filed in the US District Court. “[S]pagnoletti had concerns regarding loan and profit reporting, as well as problems with the branch system, where branches of the bank would offer different rates to different customers.”

The wife names Doral bank president Glen Wakeman, executive vice presidents Enrique Ubarri-Baragano and Annelise Figueroa, bank security chief José Robles and other unnamed defendants as being responsible for the murder.

Doral bank officials in a statement on Tuesday denied any connection and said the allegations were false.

Two sources with knowledge of the case said that the widow is upset because the FBI has not been able to resolve the case. “She decided to file the lawsuit and make public what the FBI already knows to get them to stop dragging their feet. They are sitting on this case,” one of the sources told EL PAÍS on Tuesday.

After the lawsuit was first published on Monday by the news portal Noticel and picked up by major news organizations in the United States, US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez said that the FBI had insufficient evidence to charge anyone with Spagnoletti’s murder.

“We are placing particular emphasis on this case mainly because there haven’t been any significant links, but we have had some progress in the investigation,” she told reporters in San Juan. After the murder, Spagnoletti’s widow said that she was approached by a man at the airport who indicated that he worked in security at the bank “and knew of a plan to kill Spagnoletti, with which Robles was involved,” the suit states.

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