The trial of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman front man of dictator Nicolás Maduro and accused of conspiring to launder money, was postponed from January 3 to a date yet to be determined., during a brief hearing held this Monday in Miami, in the southeastern United States.
Robert Scola, judge in the case, made that decision after an agreement with the defense of Saab and the prosecutors, considering that the date of January 3 did not offer a “realistic” deadline to develop the instance, according to court documents.
The new date of the process will be decided during a hearing scheduled for January 7. Saab, 49, has been on trial in Miami since October 18.
The businessman arrived in Florida after his extradition from Cape Verde, where he was arrested in June 2020 at the request of the United States.
According to the prosecutors of the North American country, Saab and its partner, the Colombian fugitive Álvaro Pulido, transferred 350 million dollars obtained illegally in Venezuela to launder them through the United States.
The indictment assures that both profited illegally and created a network of bribes, taking advantage of a contract signed with the Chavista regime in November 2011 to build houses for low-income people.
On November 1st, Judge Scola dismissed seven of the eight money laundering charges charged against Saab, due to “guarantees” given to Cape Verde during the defendant’s extradition process..
If found guilty, Saab would face a sentence of about 20 years. This penalty can be reduced if the accused reaches an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office and pleads guilty, but apparently this will not happen.. On November 15, the businessman attended a hearing for the reading of the charges cited by the federal court of Miami (Florida) and there, while wearing a beige jumpsuit and was tied at the ankles he pleaded “not guilty.”
Given this, it is worth mentioning that the Chavista regime alleges that Saab was one of its diplomats on a humanitarian mission on the way to Iran when his plane was stopped in Cape Verde, where he was to refuel. “He was persecuted, kidnapped and tortured for helping Venezuela”, Maduro declared during a book fair held this month in Caracas.
While the Maduro regime defends it, it also Rumors are running that Saab betrayed the dictatorship for several years. There is talk that the businessman met with United States officials before being indicted in July 2019 by the Department of Justice. However, the defense of the Barranquilla businessman has assured that this link is “false”.
The truth is that while the process progresses, The 49-year-old businessman must remain in jail, since he will not enjoy the benefit of bail due to the danger of his escape. However, Saab has asked that his case be handled semi-privately and that video access be limited to press hearings.
(With information from EFE)
The US Prosecutor’s Office does not want to close the hearings of the Alex Saab case to the press or the public
Alex Saab put together a system that would have helped launder USD 2 billion between the governments of Hugo Chávez and Rafael Correa
Mature, with hostages and without dialogue