Family of murdered executive withdraws lawsuit against Puerto Rico bank

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2014 6:15 PM

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - The family of a slain banker voluntarily withdrew a lawsuit on Monday that had accused executives of Puerto Rico's Doral Bank of conspiring to have him killed after he uncovered fraud at the financial institution.

The suit stemmed from the June 2011 killing of Maurice Spagnoletti, 56, who was shot multiple times in a gangland-style hit in San Juan while driving home from work to the fashionable Condado beach-front district in rush-hour traffic.

Authorities in the Caribbean territory have described the shooting as an apparent contract killing, but have made no arrests.

The withdrawal of the lawsuit came three days after a court-ordered deposition of the plaintiffs, including the banker's widow, Marisa Spagnoletti, the bank said.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not return messages seeking comment.

"Plaintiffs' sudden voluntary dismissal of their own complaint -- three days after the court-ordered deposition of Marisa Spagnoletti -- effectively shows that Mrs. Spagnoletti's complaint is without merit and lacks any credibility," the bank said in a statement.

Doral Bank officials said in court papers filed Monday that it would seek reimbursement of attorney fees.

Spagnoletti's family filed the lawsuit in the U.S. commonwealth in June 2013, naming the bank's chief executive officer and four other high-ranking officials as defendants.

Spagnoletti was chief operating officer at Doral Bank when he uncovered alleged fraudulent accounting and improper payments by the bank, according to the complaint filed by his widow and daughter.

At the time the suit was filed, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said the FBI was continuing to investigate the Spagnoletti shooting, including the suit's allegations.

Doral attorneys had called the lawsuit's allegations of racketeering and wrongful death "speculative, implausible, internally inconsistent and legally deficient."

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; Editing by David Adams and Leslie Adler)