Colombian-born businessman Álex Saab makes New maneuver to avoid his extradition to the US.
The request for the defense of the alleged figurehead of Maduro is based on the alleged “illegal imprisonment” of the Colombian on June 12 in Cape Verde.
The Colombian businessman Álex Saab , accused of being the front man of the dictator Nicolás Maduro, has filed a “habeas corpus” lawsuit to achieve freedom before the Cape Verde Justice , which could issue a ruling this week, he informed the EFE agency on Tuesday. his lawyer, José Manuel Pinto Monteiro.
The “habeas corpus” (the right of a detainee to appear before a judge or court to decide whether or not his arrest was legal, and whether it should be lifted or maintained) was presented last Thursday before the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ), Pinto revealed by phone from Praia, the capital of this West African island country.
The request, he explained, is based on the assumption of “illegal imprisonment” of Saa b, detained last 12th at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the northern island of Sal (the most important in Cape Verde), in response to a request of the United States issued through an Interpol red alert for money laundering offenses.
According to the lawyer, “the detainee was covered by immunity from criminal jurisdiction and had the right to personal inviolability as a special envoy from Venezuela in transit through Cape Verde.”
After Saab’s arrest, the Chavista regime reacted, noting that Saab is a Venezuelan citizen and a “agent” of the Government, who was “in transit” to return to the country.
Venezuela, Pinto recalled, “never eliminated the status of special envoy to Mr. Saab, so when he made a stopover on the island of Sal, that condition was valid and he had diplomatic immunity and could not be detained under those conditions.”
The “habeas corpus” is also supported in the “fraudulent use of a red alert by Interpol” , stressed Pinto, who appeared before the STJ in Praia on Monday on behalf of his client, detained on the northern island of San Vicente, where he was transferred from Sal to testify before an appeal court.
The Colombian businessman’s defense insisted on pointing out the supposed discrepancy between the date of Álex Saab’s arrest and the issuance of the Interpol red alert, alleging that the arrest occurred on June 12 and the red alert was issued the following day.
The same arguments support, according to the lawyer, the appeal presented before the Court of Appeal in San Vicente against the preventive detention ordered by a court of Sal for Saab.
Under Cape Verde law, the United States has 18 days (as of June 14, when pretrial detention was ordered) to submit an extradition request , according to the Attorney General of the Republic, José Landim.
“Cape Verde,” added Landim, “does not have a bilateral extradition agreement with the United States, but it is linked to United Nations conventions that require it to comply with the request, if it is made.”
Despite keeping a low profile in Colombia, Saab’s name appeared in the media when former Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega accused him in 2017 of being one of Maduro’s figureheads.
Saab, born in the Colombian city of Barranquilla and of Lebanese origin, is related to several companies, including Group Grand Limited (GGL), accused of supplying surcharges to the Maduro regime with food and supplies for the government’s Local Supply and Production Committees. (CLAP).
A US government official indicated in July 2019 that with the CLAPs, which are delivered to the poorest, the Colombian businessman and three stepsons from Maduro profited, apparently, with “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Washington also filed charges last July against Saab and his right-hand man, Álvaro Enrique Pulido , whom he accuses of laundering up to $ 350 million allegedly defrauded through the exchange control system in Venezuela.
According to the US, between November 2011 and September 2015, Saab and Pulido conspired with others to launder their illicit profits and transfer them from Venezuela to US bank accounts, which is why Washington has jurisdiction in the case.
For that reason, Saab and Pulido have an open case for conspiracy to launder money since 2019 in the federal courts of the southern district of Florida, and the judge Robert N. Scola Jr. declared them fugitives from Justice on August 26 of last year. .
His arrest occurred after the Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office imposed precautionary measures on the 9th of June for the expropriation of eight properties that “would become part of Saab’s illicit heritage”.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, these assets have a value of 35,000 million pesos (about 9.7 million dollars) and are in Barranquilla.
With information from EFE