Federal magnifying glass to the director of the Gaming Commission

the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, in English) requested, at the House of Representativesa copy of the file on the alleged irregularities committed by the director of the Gaming Commission, Orlando Rivera Carrión, confirmed two sources to the new day.

Since February this year, the Tourism Chamber Commission has been investigating a series of irregularities related to the Gaming Commission, an entity created in July 2019, with the power to regulate betting on sporting events, games of chance and the equestrian industry.

A legislative source confirmed the new day that the FBI has already contacted the Tourism Commission in the interest of receiving a copy of this file, which contains two main complaints of conflicts of interest: the participation of Rivera Carrión in a conversation with personalities from the world of casinos those whom ‘he is called upon to supervise and reimburse the trips that the official has made outside the country to evaluate the proposals of companies interested in entering the slot machine market in Puerto Rico.

FBI spokesman in Puerto Rico, Limary Cruz Rubio, told El Nuevo Día that the government agency neither confirms nor denies the existence of investigations. Meanwhile, in written statements, the Secretary of Economic Development and Trade (DDEC), Manuel Cidre, indicated that the agency which directs and oversees the Gaming Commission has not received any request from the federal government.

Cidre also indicated that the board of directors of the DDEC will not act on the figure of Rivera Carrión until an investigation into the Office of Government Ethics (OEG).

The DDEC secretary referred to a complaint filed on February 17 by representatives José “Cheíto” Rivera Madera and Ángel Matos García before the OEG. The complaint alleges that Rivera Carrión engaged in a conflict of interest scheme by accepting reimbursements from a company the government is negotiating with, in addition to participating in a conversation with members of the industry that she is supposed to oversee.

Rivera Madera and Matos García filed the complaint as president and member, respectively, of the Tourism and Cooperativism Commission, which is investigating the operations of the Gaming Commission.

In the cameral commission file, there are details of trips made by Rivera Carrión and a group of employees to Chicago (Illinois) and Las Vegas (Nevada).

In an official communication dated December 15, addressed to the Secretary of the House of Representatives, Javier Gómez Cruz, Rivera Carrión listed a series of official trips he made, including one from September 26 to October 6, 2021 in the cities of Chicago and Las Vegas. In an escrito directed to the secretary of the Gobernación, Noelia García Bardales, whom fue remitido a la Cámara, Rivera Carrión indicated that los costs del viaje “Chicago-Las Vegas” serían reembolsados ​​“por empresas reguladas, según establecen los reglamentos del Negociado de Gambling”.

In a January 20 brief to the House Tourism and Cooperative Committee, an attorney for the Gaming Committee referred to the same Chicago-Las Vegas trip, saying, “It was fully reimbursed as part of the casino license investigation. , so it incurred no expense to the government of Puerto Rico. In another document, it is stated that the purpose of the trip was “to audit a new license application for our jurisdiction”. During the trip, the facilities of Incredible Technologies, which applied for a license to do business with casinos in Puerto Rico, were visited.

The officials who took part in the trip were Rivera Carrión, Idalynn Ortiz (Deputy Director of the Commission), Jorge Castro (Deputy Director of Games of Chance) and Jackie Franco (Administrative Assistant of the Licensing Area). These people, on October 4, visited the sales office of Incredible Technologies in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. For this trip, the Gaming Commission was reimbursed for air travel, accommodation, subsistence and ground transportation.

On Feb. 16, OEG Director Luis Pérez Vargas told lawmakers in writing that officials failed to conduct an ethics consultation during the trip.

In the opinion of Matos and Rivera Madera, by failing to consult, the officials violated OEG law. Likewise, they could have violated the OEG law by performing an action that calls into question the impartiality and integrity of the government function.

Last week, Rivera Madera revealed that Rivera Carrión had been on two more trips, both to Barcelona, ​​Spain, paid for by companies the government is negotiating with. Rivera Madera told the press, presenting an email from a representative of the company WinSystems International Holdings, that between July 24 and 27, 2021 and between November 1 and 3, 2021, Rivera Carrión made two trips in Spain as part of an evaluation of the offers of the company, which wishes to do business in the casino industry of the island.

For the first trip, WinSystems International Holdings paid $2,262 for travel and accommodation and for the second trip, the expenses were $3,555.

Journalist Laura M. Quintero contributed to this story.

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