The Constitutional Court of Cape Verde authorized extradition to the United States of the Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a front man for Nicolás Maduro and accused of fraud by the US justice system, according to a sentence communicated on Tuesday.
This decision comes after a year of legal turmoil by this 49-year-old businessman, arrested in June last year in this archipelago located in the northwest of the coasts of Africa.
Saab is accused by the United States of managing a vast network so that the leader Nicolás Maduro and his regime could divert to their benefit food aid bound for Venezuela. A Miami court indicted him in July 2019 for money laundering.
The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for Saab’s release in March. But the Supreme Court of Cape Verde rejected this request and authorized the extradition of the businessman, who is under house arrest.
After an appeal filed by Saab, the Constitutional Court also “confirmed the legal authorization to extradite the accused to the United States,” he indicated in his ruling on Tuesday. At the moment, it is unknown when it will be shipped to the United States.
With his partner, Álvaro Pulido, also accused of money laundering, Saab allegedly transferred $ 350 million outside of Venezuela to foreign accounts owned or controlled. Both could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
The Venezuelan government, which granted Saab the nationality of that country and provides him with diplomatic support, described the detention as “arbitrary.”