Cape Verde Extradites Colombian Charged with Money Laundering to U.S.

Columbian citizen Alex Nain Saab Moran (Saab), 49, is set to appear in federal court in Miami, Florida, USA after being extradited from Cape Verde on Monday.

It is alleged that Saab violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in a scheme to pay bribes to take advantage of Venezuela’s government-controlled exchange rate.

Saab is expected to make his initial court appearance today at 1:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

On July 25, 2019, Saab was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering as well as seven counts of money laundering with his co-defendant, 55-year-old Alvaro Pulido Vargas also known as German Enrique Rubio Salas, a Colombian citizen.

Saab and Pulido are charged with conspiring with others to launder money from Venezuelan bank accounts to and through U.S. bank accounts beginning in or around November 2011 and continuing until at least September 2015.

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The indictment claims that Saab and Pulido obtained a contract with the Venezuelan government in November 2011 to build low-income housing units.

They then exploited Venezuela’s government-controlled exchange rate, which allowed them to obtain U.S. dollars at a favourable rate, by submitting false and fraudulent import documents for goods and materials that were never imported into Venezuela and bribing government officials to approve those documents.

The indictment alleges that the illegal activity was a scheme of bribery contrary to the FCPA and involved bribery offenses related to Venezuela.

Furthermore, Saab and Pulido allegedly wired funds related to the scheme to bank accounts in the Southern District of Florida after attending meetings in Miami to facilitate the bribe payments.

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Throughout this scheme, Saab and Pulido transferred approximately $350 million out of Venezuela, through the United States, to overseas bank accounts they controlled or owned.

Saab was detained on June 12, 2020, by the Republic of Cape Verde at the request of the United States.

A formal extradition request was then submitted by the United States, to which Saab objected. The Cape Verdean Supreme Court approved the extradition of Saab on March 16. After further litigation concerning Saab’s detention and extradition between Saab’s lawyers and the Cabo Verdean Attorney General’s Office, on Aug. 30, the Constitutional Court of Cabo Verde dismissed his appeal; and on Oct. 13, it denied the last reconsideration request by Saab and certified the completion of the proceedings concerning the extradition of Saab to the United States. The Minister of Justice of Cabo Verde then ordered his surrender, consistent with the court orders, resulting in Saab’s arrival in the United States on Oct. 16.

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