FBI in­ves­ti­gat­ing Puerto Rico power con­tract -WSJ

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Reuters) - The Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a $300 mil­lion con­tract that Puerto Rico’s gov­ern­ment power com­pany awarded to a U.S.-based en­ergy startup, the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported on Mon­day, cit­ing peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The con­tract be­tween White­fish En­ergy Hold­ings and Puerto Rico’s bank­rupt power util­ity was widely crit­i­cized af­ter me­dia re­ports showed it was awarded with­out a com­pet­i­tive pub­lic bid­ding process.

On Sun­day, Puerto Rico’s gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would can­cel the $300 mil­lion con­tract.

White­fish had more than 350 work­ers and 2,500 tons of heavy equip­ment on the ground for re­build­ing elec­tri­cal lines de­stroyed in Hur­ri­cane Maria, rais­ing con­cern about Puerto Rico’s man­age­ment of fed­eral dis­as­ter­re­lief funds to the is­land, the WSJ re­ported. (http://on.wsj.com/2zjM0vi)

The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, mul­ti­ple con­gres­sional com­mit­tees and lo­cal au­di­tors have be­gun re­quest­ing doc­u­ments about the deal, ac­cord­ing to the WSJ.

A White­fish spokesman, Ken Luce, told Reuters the com­pany was not aware of any such in­ves­ti­ga­tion and that it “is com­mit­ted to full co­op­er­a­tion with any in­quiry or in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

An FBI of­fi­cial in San Juan, who re­quested anonymity, told Reuters “we can nei­ther con­firm nor deny” the Jour­nal’s story. A num­ber of U.S. law­mak­ers have raised ques­tions about In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke’s con­nec­tions with White­fish.

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