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Alex Saab, alleged financier for Venezuela’s president, is extradited to the US and due in courtroom Monday

Colombian businessman Alex Saab is anticipated to make his preliminary courtroom look at 1 p.m. ET earlier than US Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, DOJ spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman stated in an announcement Sunday.

The US alleges Saab was behind a corruption community involving a government-subsidized meals program known as CLAP that allowed Maduro and his allies to steal lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from the Venezuelan individuals whereas additionally utilizing meals as a type of social management.
“Rather than ensure that this vulnerable population receives the food it desperately needs, the regime uses the CLAP program as a political tool to reward support and punish political criticism,” the US Treasury Department stated in 2019.

“By offering food through this program, the former regime is able to maintain its influence because many Venezuelan citizens do not have enough money to buy food and therefore depend on the rations CLAP provides to survive.”

The Treasury Department additionally accused Saab of personally taking advantage of overvalued contracts.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Saab had been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department and had been sought by the DOJ’s Southern District of Florida over cash laundering fees.

Due to his indictment within the US, an Interpol crimson discover was issued. In June 2020, Saab was detained whereas touring from Venezuela to Iran when his jet stopped to refuel in Cape Verde, an African island nation.

Earlier this yr, Saab advised CNN he feared he can be handled inhumanely if he had been extradited to the US.

He was extradited on Saturday, and the DOJ stated Saab’s extradition was “conducted in full compliance with all relevant Cabo Verdean laws and court rulings.”

Alex Saab said he feared being extradited to the US

“The U.S. Department of Justice expresses our gratitude to the Government of Cabo Verde for its assistance and perseverance with this complex case and admiration for the professionalism of Cabo Verde’s judicial system,” the DOJ assertion stated.

But Saab’s lawyer alleged in a video assertion Saturday that Saab had been “kidnapped” by the United States and that his extradition “violated” the principles of Cape Verde’s inner legislation and the worldwide legislation.

Hours after Saab’s extradition, 5 US residents and a everlasting resident often called the “CITGO 6” who had been detained in Venezuela had been picked up by the nation’s intelligence service — apparently in retaliation for Saab’s extradition.
'CITGO 6' oil execs held in Venezuela were picked up by forces after Alex Saab's extradition

The CITGO 6 consists of former executives of CITGO Petroleum Corporation — José Ángel Pereira, Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, José Luis Zambrano, Tomeu Vadell and Alirio José Zambrano.

They had been arrested in Caracas in 2017 on embezzlement fees and had been underneath home arrest since May. They have denied the costs.

After being picked up by the Venezuelan intelligence service SEBIN, the lads had been taken to Helicoide jail in Caracas, legal professionals Jesús Loretto and María Alejandra Poleo advised CNN on Sunday.

The US State Department denounced the imprisonment of “six wrongfully detained Americans in Venezuela.”

“These six Americans and their families have suffered long enough,” the State Department stated in an announcement Sunday. “The United States continues to call for their immediate release and return to the United States.”

Akanksha Sharma and Isa Soares contributed to this report.

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