The Curious Case of Alex Saab
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The Curious Case of Alex Saab

By IndraStra Global Editorial Team

The Curious Case of Alex Saab

Who is Alex Saab?

Alex Nain Saab Morán (born December 21, 1971) is a Colombian-born businessman of Lebanese descent mentioned in the Panama Papers, who has also been mentioned in journalistic investigations for conducting businesses with an estimated amount of US$135 million with the Maduro regime of Venezuela.

Alex Saab - Passport Copy

Investigations and Indictments

In 2018, he was investigated by Colombian authorities for alleged money laundering, due to his relationship with the Venezuelan government between 2004 and 2011. During the course of these investigations, his fiscal and accounting reviewer has been arrested and charged by the prosecutor's office.

Saab's name also appears in the FinCEN Files. In July 2019, the U.S. Justice Department indicted Saab and another businessman for bribing Venezuelan officials and diverting some $350 million to overseas accounts. Later, the U.S. Treasury Department has also put sanctions on Saab for running a vast corruption network for a food-aid program that lined the pockets of the Maduro regime, which has overseen the economic collapse of the oil-rich country. U.S. officials say the food scheme also includes Maduro's stepchildren as well as 13 companies in various countries.

Detention in Cape Verde

On June 12, 2020, Saab was detained in the African island archipelago of Cape Verde when his San Marino-registered jet made a refueling stop on its way to Iran (T7-JIS, the flight originated from Caracas, Venezuela). At that time, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said that he was arrested on an Interpol red notice. Later his U.S.-based attorney, Maria Dominguez confirmed his arrest. when his jet made a refueling stop on a flight to Iran.

Alex Saab - The Flight plan of T7-JIS

The U.S. government accuses Saab of being the frontman for a vast network of money laundering and corruption in Venezuela through shell companies in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Hong Kong, Panama, Colombia, and Mexico.

The Venezuelan opposition, headed by Juan Guaido -- who is recognized by dozens of countries including the United States as Venezuela's interim president -- welcomed Saab's arrest.

Extradition to the United States

On March 15, 2021, a regional ECOWAS court in Nigeria ordered Cape Verde to free Saab and halt extradition proceedings, arguing that the authorities carried out the arrest before Interpol issued a Red Notice. The judge described Saab’s arrest as illegal and said he should be released and paid $200,000 for unlawful detention.

But on March 17, 2021, Cape Verde’s Supreme Court ruled that Saab can be extradited to the United States to face money-laundering charges. Geraldo Almeida, one of the Cape Verde attorneys representing Saab in his fight against extradition, said his legal team would appeal the decision at the country’s Constitutional Court.

Current Status

The extradition is still pending.

NOTE: In March 2021, the intelligence report, passed to the Venezuelan opposition, examined 547,000 tweets related to Saab’s case published in Africa and South America from October 2020 to February 2021.

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