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Prosecutors asked a Miami court on Monday to dismiss seven of the eight charges related to money laundering that Colombian businessman Alex Saab, alleged front man for Nicolás Maduro, faces.
According to the EFE news agency, prosecutor Kurt Lunkenheimer asked to drop the seven charges of money laundering and leave only the charge of conspiracy to commit that crime. This is based on the “guarantees made to the Republic of Cape Verde during the extradition process”, which was finalized last October 16 with Saab’s arrival in Miami.
The motion was filed this Monday, day in which a hearing was scheduled to read the eight charges against Saab. However, the proceeding was postponed to next November 15.
Alex Saab’s hearing suspended
The move came after Saab’s attorneys told Southern District of Florida Judge John J. O’Sullivan that they had been unable to gain access to their client due to his mandatory coronavirus quarantine.
According to the indictment, since May 2019, more than a year before his capture in Cape Verde on the basis of a warrant issued through Interpol, Saab has been subject to sanctions by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Prosecutors believe he laundered more than US$350 million to pay for the Venezuelan dictator’s corrupt dealings through the U.S. financial system.
EFE also detailed that today’s meeting was not accessible to the press through Zoom or in-person after some media published photos of Saab during the first hearing taken from that platform on October 18, which is illegal.
According to the news agency, U.S. court records also published today a document signed by Saab and his lawyer, Henry Bell, in which the Colombian businessman waived his right to appear this Monday both in person and in the Internet version of the hearing through Zoom.