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Venezuela's Alleged Top Corruption Operative One Step Closer To U.S. Extradition

Alex Saab passport
Government of Cape Verde
The passport seized from Colombian businessman and Venezuelan operative Alex Saab after he was arrested in June in Cape Verde.

The man the U.S. calls the top corruption henchman for Venezuela’s authoritarian regime is one step closer to being flown to Miami in handcuffs. Tiny Cape Verde has all but approved Alex Saab’s extradition to the U.S.

Lawyers for Saab have confirmed that judges in the African island country of Cape Verde have denied his appeal to prevent his extradition.

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Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in June when his private plane landed there to refuel. Saab is wanted in the U.S. on money-laundering charges involving hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly generated by embezzlement, bribery, fraud and other corruption schemes perpetrated with the Venezuelan regime.

Saab, who is Colombian, denies the accusation. But U.S. prosecutors in Miami, Venezuela’s political opposition and media investigations insist his scams have deepenedVenezuela’s epic humanitarian crisis. They’ve defrauded critical sectors like food imports, public housing and the oil industry.

Saab’s legal team says it will now appeal his extradition up to Cape Verde’s highest courts. If he is brought to the U.S., the information Saab can provide U.S. officials about Venezuelan corruption could be the most damaging yet for authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro is also under indictment in the U.S., as are a host of other Venezuelan officials and business executives.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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