The US Justice is now preparing to try Alex Saab, the achiever of Nicolas Maduro that he will finally be extradited following a decision of the competent court in Cape Verde. The defense of the businessman said yesterday that it will continue to appeal because it considers this cause a political trial, but the channels are already exhausted. Meanwhile, the Administration of Joe Biden has allowed the Prosecutor’s Office to continue working on this case, which was opened during the previous administration, led by Donald Trump.
The Constitutional Court of Cape Verde unanimously rejected the appeal of Saab’s lawyers, presented already after another court authorized his extradition five months ago. The millionaire Saab is an ally of Maduro
and he is considered his front man. It has been a crucial link in circumventing US sanctions and maintaining oil and other ties with the Islamic regime in Iran.
Among his lawyers is the Spanish judge disqualified for prevarication Baltasar Garzón. That defense team maintains that Saab was an emissary of the Venezuelan government and therefore enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The US Prosecutor’s Office filed the charges against Saab in 2019. It accused him of being part of a money laundering scheme at the service of the Chavista regime. According to the North American Prosecutor Saab, together with his partner Alvaro Pulido, would have withdrawn 350 million dollars from Venezuela to bank accounts abroad. Both face 20 years in jail.
Ambassador of the regime
In fact, to try to give him diplomatic immunity, Maduro appointed him plenipotentiary ambassador to Africa in December 2020, reports Ludmila Vinogradoff. In the last hours, Moscow described the capture of Saab as illegal and announced consequences for the countries involved in his extradition. His wife, Italian model Camila Fabri, and their daughters moved from Caracas to Moscow in December of last year.
The corruption plot links the family of Maduro, his wife Cilia Flores, his stepsons and nephews. Its extensive network of mounted businesses includes more than one hundred front companies and contracts with the Maduro regime amounting to more than $ 1 billion in various oil and food sectors, and in countries such as Colombia, Panama, Iran, Russia, Turkey and in Asia.
Detained in Cape Verde
The businessman was arrested in Cape Verde in June 2020 when his private jet made a stopover to refuel on its way precisely to Iran. The Chavista regime immediately said that Saab’s mission was humanitarian in nature, and called for his release. The Trump Administration sent a Navy ship to African waters to intervene in the event of an attempted extraction of Alex Saab.
US intelligence believes that the resources allocated by Maduro to prevent Saab’s extradition are due to the fact that he hoards crucial information about the regime and its criminal activities, especially the diversion of funds linked to drug trafficking.
A priority for Maduro
It is true that the Maduro regime has made the release of Saab a priority, mobilizing several allies, including the former president of the Spanish Government Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The authorization of the extradition comes at a time when Chavismo and the opposition have begun a new round of political dialogue in Mexico, which could be affected by this case.
In March, a court of the Economic Community of West African States, to which Cape Verde belongs, ordered Saab’s release, in addition to financial compensation for his arrest. Finally, the Cape Verdean Justice has not complied with that decision.
In the United States, Maduro’s and Chavismo’s partners in Washington have set out to defend Saab. A group called the Alliance for Global Justice, which has its origins in the so-called Solidarity Network with Nicaragua, the first US organization to support the Sandinistas, has launched a campaign backed by Noam Chomsky and other like-minded intellectuals, in which he denounces that Saab “was kidnapped, detained and tortured under the orders of the Trump Administration.” “We ask President Biden to withdraw the demand for Alex Saab’s extradition to the US,” he added in an open letter to Biden.
The Saab name also appeared in the so-called Panama papers, since according to those documents he used the services of the firm Mossack Fonseca to establish opaque companies. After Saab’s arrest, the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office also announced charges against the businessman for what it described as “irregular activities linked to money laundering crimes.