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World Key aide of Venezuela's Maduro extradited to US

07:41  17 october  2021
07:41  17 october  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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The Venezuelan government suspended talks soon afterwards with the US -backed opposition. The talks were to resolve a political crisis that has led to violence and the collapse of the economy. The discussions had been due to resume this weekend in Mexico. The US Treasury accuses Mr Saab - a Colombian-born businessman and Venezuelan envoy - of using his accounts in American banks to launder the proceeds of corruption. 5 Key aide of Venezuela ' s Maduro extradited to US .

Miami (AP) -- Venezuela ’ s government said Saturday it would halt negotiations with the country's opposition in retaliation for the extradition to the U . S . of a close ally of President Nicolás Maduro wanted on money laundering charges. Jorge Rodríguez, who has been heading the government’s delegation in talks that started in August, said his team wouldn’t travel to Mexico City for the next scheduled round of talks with his U . S .-backed opponents, although he stopped short of saying the government was abandoning the talks altogether.

One of President Nicolás Maduro's closest aides has been extradited from Cape Verde to the United States, where he's been charged with money laundering.

Saab was charged with money laundering in the US © BBC Saab was charged with money laundering in the US

The US Treasury says Alex Saab worked as a front man for Mr Maduro's regime.

The Venezuelan government suspended talks soon afterwards with the US-backed opposition.

The talks were to resolve a political crisis that has led to violence and the collapse of the economy.

The discussions had been due to resume this weekend in Mexico.

The US Treasury accuses Mr Saab - a Colombian-born businessman and Venezuelan envoy - of using his accounts in American banks to launder the proceeds of corruption.

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Commonly known in Venezuela as “Los Chamos,” slang for “the kids,” the three men are also under investigation by prosecutors in Miami for allegedly forming part of a scheme to siphon .2 billion from Venezuela ’ s state -owned oil company, two people familiar with the U . S . investigation told The Associated Press. The previous Trump administration had made Saab’s extradition a top priority, at one point even sending a Navy warship to the African archipelago to keep an eye on the captive. In turn, Maduro ’s government has vehemently objected to Saab’s prosecution as a veiled attempt at regime change by the

Commonly known in Venezuela as “Los Chamos,” slang for “the kids,” the three men are also under investigation by prosecutors in Miami for allegedly forming part of a scheme to siphon .2 billion from Venezuela ’ s state -owned oil company, two people familiar with the U . S . investigation told The Associated In turn, Maduro ’s government has vehemently objected to Saab’s prosecution as a veiled attempt at regime change by the U . S . government. The high-profile case threatens to stall negotiations sponsored by Norway aimed at overcoming Venezuela ' s long running economic crisis and political tug of war.

He was detained in June last year as his plane made a stopover to refuel in Cape Verde.

Mr Saab said he was travelling on an official mission to obtain medical supplies to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. He denies all the charges and says they are politically motivated.


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The Venezuelan government has accused the US of kidnapping diplomatic personnel and announced the suspension in negotiations with the opposition that were set to resume this weekend.

Mr Saab was due to be a member of the government's negotiating team in talks with the opposition in Mexico.

The suspension of talks was announced by ruling Socialist party legislator Jorge Rodriguez, who heads the government's negotiating team.

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MIAMI (AP) — A senior U . S . official says that a top fugitive close to Venezuela ’ s socialist government has been put on a plane to the U . S . to face money laundering charges. Alex Saab was on a chartered Justice Department flight from Cape Verde, where he was arrested 16 months ago while making a stop on the way to Iran for what Nicolás Maduro ’s government later described as a diplomatic humanitarian mission. The official spoke on condition he not be named. Saab’s arrival to the U . S . is bound to complicate relations between Washington and Caracas, possibly disrupting fledgling talks between Maduro ’s

Commonly known in Venezuela as “Los Chamos,” slang for “the kids,” the three men are also under investigation by prosecutors in Miami for allegedly forming part of a scheme to siphon .2 billion from Venezuela ’ s state -owned oil company, two people familiar with the U . S . investigation told The Associated Press. In turn, Maduro ’s government has vehemently objected to Saab’s prosecution as a veiled attempt at regime change by the U . S . government. However, the Biden administration has downplayed the importance of Saab’s problems, saying he can defend himself in U . S . courts and that his case shouldn’t

Mr Rodriguez called the decision "an expression of our deepest protest against the brutal aggression" against Mr Saab.

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Mr Saab is accused of making large amounts of money from overvalued contracts, as well as from Venezuela's government-set exchange rate and centralised system of import and distribution of basic foods.

Venezuela has faced chronic shortages of food and medicine as a result of years of political and economic crisis.

Venezuela's opposition has described Mr Saab as a front man doing shady deals for the populist socialist regime of Mr Maduro.

Colombian President Ivan Duque tweeted that Mr Saab's extradition was "a triumph in the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption by the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro".

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