The Cape Verdean authorities extradited to the United States the Venezuelan businessman of Colombian origin Alex Saab, who is accused by the American authorities of money laundering in favor of the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. informs CNN Espanol. Saab serves as Venezuela’s special envoy to the African Union, but the US authorities consider Maduro’s government illegitimate.
According to Alex Saab’s lawyers, on October 16, the businessman was escorted from the place where he was under house arrest to the plane of the US Department of Justice. Saab was detained on a US warrant on June 12, 2020 at the airport in Cape Verde, when his plane, flying from Iran to Venezuela, landed for refueling on the island of Sal in the Cape Verde archipelago.
On September 8, 2021, the Constitutional Tribunal of Cape Verde approved the extradition of Saab to the United States, transfers Interfax.
The Venezuelan authorities demanded the release of Saab, noting that he has diplomatic immunity. And Caracas considers his extradition to be “the abduction of a diplomat.”
For his part, Colombian President Ivan Duque Márquez wrote on Twitter that Saab’s extradition is a great success in the “fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption.” The head of state also called Saab “the head of a transnational criminal group.”
After the transfer of Saab to the Americans, the Venezuelan authorities suspended negotiations with the opposition, which have been under way since August 13. The next round of negotiations was to begin in Mexico City on October 17th. The refusal to participate in it was announced by the chairman of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Jorge Rodriguez, who heads the negotiating delegation.
According to him, Caracas, by refusing to negotiate, protests “against the brutal aggression” against Alex Saab, writes Infobae. “As you know, Alex Saab is the permanent representative of our government in the negotiations with the Venezuelan opposition, which are taking place in Mexico thanks to the assistance of the Kingdom of Norway and the escort of the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with which this crime also undermines the proper development of negotiations,” the Venezuelan authorities said in a statement …
49-year-old Alex Saab was born in the Colombian city of Barranquilla. He is associated with several companies including Group Grand Limited. They are suspected of supplying food and other goods under contracts with the Maduro administration. According to the US, Saab and Maduro’s three adopted sons earned “hundreds of millions of dollars” from this trade.
Relations between the United States and Venezuela have escalated after the leader of the local opposition, Juan Guaido, declared himself acting president on January 23, 2019. He was recognized as interim head of state by about 60 countries, including the United States, which imposed sanctions on the oil sector of Venezuela, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the attempt to remove him from power a coup d’etat. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey expressed their support for Maduro.