The Colombian Alex Saab, alleged front man of the president Nicolas Maduro, led a “transnational money laundering operation” that involves politicians from Venezuela, Ecuador Y Colombia, as determined by Ecuadorian congressmen in an investigation they shared with Bogotá.
Fernando Villavicencio, president of the oversight commission of the Ecuadorian Congress, traveled to Bogotá and delivered a 125-page report to President Iván Duque on Tuesday on the alleged corruption network orchestrated by Saab, detained in the United States.
The commission “has made us a clear, detailed, accurate exposition” that splashes “people close to governments of various countries, including the dictatorial regime of Venezuela, previous governments in the case of Ecuador, and also Colombian politicians and people who have been linked to state contracting, ”Duque declared without identifying those involved.
Saab, 49, was arrested in June 2020 during a stopover in Cape Verde and extradited last October at the request of the US justice, which considers him a front man for Maduro.
Assemblyman Villavicencio, an opponent of former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, said he had “irrefutable proof” of a trip by former Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba on a private Saab plane.
“There is sufficient evidence that places Mrs. Piedad Córdoba in a close relationship with Alex Saab and the Miraflores palace, I am referring to the Chavista government,” Villavicencio said.
Córdoba denied the allegations on Twitter: “I am preparing a judicial process against that miserable man,” he warned.
The US prosecutor’s office estimates that Saab and his partner, the Colombian fugitive Álvaro Pulido, received some 350 million dollars obtained illegally in Venezuela to launder them in the United States.
According to the indictment, they created a bribery ring through a contract signed with the Venezuelan government in November 2011 to build housing for low-income people.
“Links are also established with businessmen who lent themselves to carry out front man and money laundering operations and who were recipients of tax fraud in several countries through accounts registered in tax havens,” added Duque.
According to Villavicencio’s exposition, the fraud against Ecuador’s monetary reserves amounted to 2,697 million dollars.
Saab faces one count of conspiracy to launder money, which is punishable by up to 20 years in jail in the US. The employer pleads not guilty of the crimes he is charged with.
His extradition infuriated the Maduro government, which gave the Colombian Venezuelan nationality and an ambassadorial title, while struggling unsuccessfully to prevent his transfer to the United States.