Colombian Álex Saab, who worked as an international frontman for Venezuela’s socialist regime, has arrived in the U.S. following his extradition from Cape Verde, it was confirmed on Sunday.
The Cape Verdean justice system authorized his extradition in August 2020, but it was delayed due to legal arguments. However, the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde verified the legality of the process followed by the Colombian businessman after his arrest last year.
A Justice Department plane left this Saturday for Miami with Saab, who was previously presented before a judge. El Tiempo confirmed that the aircraft is a Gulfstream G550 with registration number N708JH.
In a letter sent by the Ministry of Justice of Cape Verde dated Thursday, October 14, to which EFE had access, the government informed the U.S. embassy in the African country of the execution of Saab’s delivery and requested information on the means of transport, date and time in which he was to be transferred.
In addition, it was detailed that third countries are monitoring the flight to ensure that he arrives safely to American territory. The American justice is waiting for him to face proceedings for money laundering for more than 350 million dollars linked to the regime of Nicolás Maduro.
The decision of the Cape Verdean justice was supported by different political leaders in the world. For example, the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, described it as a triumph against drug trafficking and money laundering.
Meanwhile, the chancellor of Maduro’s regime, Felix Plasencia, rejected the measure and assured that, in his opinion, it is a violation of international law. The declarations of the Chavista were made in response to the message sent earlier by the Colombian president.
Four keys to the case
- Alex Saab was arrested in Cape Verde on June 13, at the request of the United States. The American justice accuses him of money laundering. In July 2019, the Department of Justice filed charges against Saab and another Colombian businessman, Álvaro Enrique Pulido, for allegedly having laundered up to $350 million obtained through the exchange control system in Venezuela.
- The Colombian was pointed out in an investigation by the portal Armando.info as the main responsible for a corruption scheme in the Venezuelan regime’s subsidized food program, known as CLAP (Comités Locales de Abastecimiento y Producción). Maduro created the CLAPs in 2016, in the midst of a basic food and medicine crisis.
- After his arrest, the Venezuelan dictatorship assured that the businessman is a Venezuelan citizen and an “agent” of its management who was “in transit” in Cape Verde, so his lawyers have argued that “he was entitled to personal inviolability as a special envoy of Venezuela.”
- The Colombian businessman and his lawyers used all legal and communicational tools to avoid extradition. To this end, he hired at least four international law firms, including that of former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón.