Cape Verde court rules Maduro financier can be extradited to US for money laundering charges
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Cape Verde court rules Maduro financier can be extradited to US for money laundering charges

The Cape Verde Court of Appeal of Barlavento ruled Monday that Colombian lawyer and businessman Alex Nain Saab Moran can be extradited to the US, where he faces money laundering charges on behalf of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

The US sanctioned Saab in 2019 for allegedly using an elaborate network of bank accounts in Venezuela and the US to allow him and Maduro to profit from state-run food subsidy programs. Prosecutors also indicted Saab and Alvaro Pulido Vargas for their alleged roles in a bribery scheme that took advantage of Venezuela’s government-controlled exchange rate.

Saab was arrested on June 12 on the island of Sal in Cape Verde. The Venezuelan government protested his arrest, stating that the arrest violated international norms because the arrest notice was issued after the arrest. In August a Cape Verde court initially approved the extradition of Saab to the US.

Saab’s lawyers appealed the decision. On Monday an appeals court rejected Saab’s claims that he would not get a fair trial in the US and that the case was politically motivated. The court ruled that Saab can be extradited to the US.

Saab’s lawyers have stated that they will appeal the ruling before Cape Verde’s Supreme Court of Justice.