The hearing to schedule the trial of the Colombian-Venezuelan businessman Alex Saab, considered the front man of the dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and accused in the United States of conspiracy to launder money, was postponed to February 16 due to the COVID-19 explosion in Florida.
The “status” hearing, which was scheduled for next Friday, January 7, was postponed Tuesday by Judge Robert N. Scola, according to court documents.
“Given the increase in COVID-19, if the hearing were to take place on January 7, the defendant would have to be quarantined for 14 days after the hearing, which would interfere with his ability to consult with an attorney”, Says the judge’s ruling.
Saab, 50, was extradited to the US on October 16 from Cape Verde, where he was arrested in 2020 following an international arrest warrant requested by the US justice.
The businessman faces a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a Miami court, of which he pleaded “not guilty” on November 15 before Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes.
Judge Scola earlier this month dismissed seven money laundering charges against the defendant.
The reduction of charges was part of the extradition agreement with the Government of Cape Verde so that, should he be found guilty, the sentence does not exceed the one you would have had in that African country.
Saab faces a sentence of about 20 years if found guilty of the only charge he has in Miami court, a penalty that can be reduced if you make a deal with the Prosecutor’s Office, which usually includes denunciation of other people.
Judge Scola ordered on November 29 to veto the public the evidence and documents that are presented as part of the trial of Colombian-Venezuelan Alex Saab.
The judge thus agreed to a request from the US Attorney’s Office, which had the approval of Saab’s defense, according to court documents.
(With information from EFE)
Rafael Correa is investigated by the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office for his relationship with Alex Saab’s corruption system
Alex Saab put together a system that would have helped launder USD 2 billion between the governments of Hugo Chávez and Rafael Correa
How was the mechanism in the Central Bank of Ecuador that allowed money laundering of Alex Saab during the government of Rafael Correa