Colombian businessman Alex Saab extradited to US

Colombian businessman Alex Saab extradited to US: Justice Department

Alex Saab and his business partner Alvaro Pulido are charged in the US with running a network that exploited food aid destined for Venezuela

 A woman walks by a mural in support of the liberation of businessman Alex Saab, who was detained in Cape Verde on charges of laundering money for the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Credit: Reuters File Photo

Fugitive Colombian businessman Alex Saab, accused of acting as a money launderer for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime, was extradited to the United States from Cape Verde on Saturday, the Justice Department said.

Saab "is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday, October 18" before a court in Florida, it said in a statement.

The agency also expressed its "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."

Saab and his business partner Alvaro Pulido are charged in the United States with running a network that exploited food aid destined for Venezuela, an oil-rich nation mired in an acute economic crisis.

They are alleged to have moved some $350 million out of Venezuela into accounts they controlled in the United States and other countries. They risk up to 20 years in prison.

Saab, who also has Venezuelan nationality and a Venezuelan diplomatic passport, was indicted in July 2019 in Miami for money laundering and was arrested during a plane stopover in Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa in June 2020.

Venezuela reacted furiously to Saturday's extradition, suspending talks with the US-backed opposition on ending the country's political and economic crisis.

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