Why Alex Saab wanted to keep secret your meetings with the DEA? According to the transcript of a question on the stand during a hearing on Wednesday, The Maduro regime has threatened his family, who cannot leave Venezuela.
Saab was secretly hired by the DEA as a contributing source in 2018 and provided agents with information about bribes he paid to Venezuelan officials, according to new court records revealed Wednesday in the closely watched corruption case.
Alex Saab lost almost USD 10 million of his fortune as part of his cooperation agreement with the US, which included various meetings with US law enforcement in his native Colombia and Europe.
But nevertheless, was deactivated as a source after missing the May 30, 2019 deadline for submission.
As explained in court by Neil Schuster, his lawyer, Saab ”He has five children, some of whom are minors, and he has a wife there (in Venezuela), and they are basically under the control of the government.”
During the hearing, the public was briefly barred from the courtroom as the two sides discussed whether two documents filed by prosecutors nearly a year agoas Saab fought extradition from Cape Verde, They should remain sealed.
With this argument, the lawyer asks not to open “seals 25 and 26″, as he believes it would create a situation where his family will be imprisoned, harmed, physically harmed.”
Judge Robert Scola he then asks if what he is saying is simply based on mere speculation, which the lawyer denies. “Do you have affirmative evidence that someone has threatened your family? Anyone who cooperates in any situation, there is always the possibility of physical harm to them. If he was so worried about it, he had to do something about it since February 21st. He has had since November. I’m not unconcerned about the safety of the family, but I have to balance everything. There is no specific threat that has been identified, ”says the judge.
And Schuster continues: “I can tell the Tribunal that, based on my knowledge of past situations, if the Venezuelan government learns the extent of what this individual has provided, I have no doubt that there will be retaliation against his wife and children.”.
It is unclear why prosecutors, who had previously tried to keep those meetings with US law enforcement secret out of concern for his safety and that of his family, some of whom are still in Venezuela, they changed tone.
But nevertheless, In rejecting Saab’s request that the documents remain sealed, the judge said the public’s right to access criminal proceedings outweighs concerns about his family’s safety.
“Although the defendant argued that his family may be in danger in Venezuela, these matters have been sealed for almost a year and the defendant was unable to present any effort that the family has made to leave Venezuela and has not even accepted an offer from the Government to help them leave Venezuela”, Scola wrote in his order.
(With information from AP)
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