A Bulgarian court on August 17, blocked $158 million from the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA in Spanish), money also linked to subsidiary companies owned by the Colombian businessman Alex Saab.
The measure had place after media in Bulgaria and Venezuela ran a series of articles over the weekend, exposing the existence of said funds and their link to US-sanctioned PDVSA and Saab, a Colombian financier suspected of laundering money for the Nicolas Maduro regime. Saab was arrested on June 12, in Cape Verde, and has been in prison there since, awaiting extradition to the US.
The money was already frozen in 2019 when the name of Saab, in connection with Maduro, first emerged. Now, Bulgaria is widening the investigation and taking extra steps.
You must read The mark of Alex Saab is all over the Vargas state
According to the Venezuelan research website, Armando.info authorities in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, have documents that show the maneuvers of Saab to evade the US sanctions against the state-owned oil company. Allegedly, Saab depositing in Investbank, a local bank, in accounts managed by controversial Bulgarian lawyer Tsvetan Georgiev Tsanev, who is facing several accusations of money laundering.
“In February 2019, the authorities announced the freezing of money from PDVSA, deposited in accounts at Investbank. A bank with a bad reputation in the Bulgarian financial system for handling funds from organized crime,” the report stated.
Likewise, the court decided that part of the money get linked to companies with which Saab and its fugitive partner, the Colombian Alvaro Pulido, diverted resources after obtaining contracts for the distribution in Venezuela of products for the Local Supply and Production Committees (Clap).
Court and media also established links between the Colombian businessman, currently detained in the Republic of Cape Verde, not only with the government of Nicolas Maduro but also with the turncoat faction in the National Assembly led by deputy Luis Parra.
Read Runrunes’ full story here.