Puerto Rico bank executive slain on busy highway

The FBI and Puerto Rican police were investigating on Thursday the slaying of a bank executive who was shot to death as he drove home along one of the busiest streets in the island's capital.

Maurice J. Spagnoletti, an executive vice president at Doral Bank, was repeatedly shot as he drove his Lexus on the De Diego Expressway in San Juan, the homicide division said in a statement. No suspects are in custody.

The assailants apparently followed the banker and shot him Wednesday evening as he slowed in rush-hour traffic to enter a tunnel in what appeared to be a professionally orchestrated attack, Police Cmdr. Orlando Melendez was quoted by El Nuevo Dia newspaper as saying.

"The shots were very well placed," Melendez told the paper.

Puerto Rico's police requested assistance from the FBI and they are investigating jointly, FBI spokesman Harry Rodriguez said.

Spagnoletti, 56, had been in charge of mortgage and banking operations at the bank since January. He previously held executive positions at banks in South Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Melendez was quoted by the paper as saying that investigators were looking into whether the killing could be related to an audit Spagnoletti was conducting that may have uncovered irregularities at Doral. The paper also said police were looking at people who had been laid off from the bank as potential suspects.

Doral Bank has struggled in recent years and has been restructuring its operations. Melendez did not respond to a call from The Associated Press.

In a statement, Doral said that "any speculation about any improper conduct is totally false."

The statement did not say whether Spagnoletti was involved in an audit, but added, "Maurice was an exemplary executive of high caliber and integrity who came to this institution six months ago and had our respect and admiration."

Bank spokeswoman Lucienne Gigante declined to elaborate.