The Supreme Court of Justice of Cape Verde declared itself incompetent to decide on the requested from the US to extradite the Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a man accused of being the top money launderer and figurehead for the Nicolas Maduro regime.
The US had two warrants with Interpol out for Saab when he got arrested aboard a private jet (flying from Venezuela) on June 12. He has been in custody since then, and his extradition is proceeding apace.
The former Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon, part of the legal team of Saab, explained in a press release that the resolution exposes that the court does not have the competence to decide about the house arrest and takes the position of returning the case to the Court of Appeals of that African country.
Another lawyer, Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro, stated in the same document that the Cape Verdean court criticized the action of lower courts involved, asking some questions to the Court of Appeals “due to numerous irregularities,” reported the Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
The businessman got captured in June 2020 on the African island, faced with accusations of being involved in laundering millions of dollars from Nicolás Maduro and his partners. Since then, his defense has denounced the violation of his rights and alleged irregularities in the process.
“The Supreme Court has issued a decision admonishing the Court of Appeals for ignoring the basic principles of due process,” said Rutsel Silvestre J Martha, one of his lawyers.
In the US, university professor Bruce Bagley was convicted earlier this year and is now serving a money-laundering sentence for his involvement in the Alex Saab scheme.
The Court of Appeals approved on July 31, the extradition of Saab. Garzon commented after the latest developments: “The Windward Court (lower Cape Verde court) has decided arbitrarily, without legal basis and with absolute lack of motive, to approve the extradition of Mr. Saab and, therefore, his delivery to the prosecuting agent for political reasons, the United States.”
The United States has insisted that Alex Saab laundered close to 350 million dollars, allegedly defrauded through the Venezuelan exchange control system.