The Colombian businessman was arrested close to Maduro in Venezuela


June 13 (Reuters) - Cape Verde authorities have arrested Colombian businessman Alex Saab, who is close to Socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, on charges of money laundering in the US, the Justice Department said on Saturday.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Nawaz Axman said in a statement that Saab had been sentenced by its U.S. counterpart.
Saab's U.S. Attorney Maria Dominguez confirmed her arrest but declined to provide further details of her arrest in the archipelago of the West African coast.
In July 2019, US prosecutors accused Saab and another Colombian businessman of money laundering in relation to the 2011–2015 plan to take advantage of the exchange rate set by the Venezuelan government.
The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on a vast corruption network for food imports and distribution in Venezuela and has benefited from high-value contracts, including a food subsidy program.
US officials say the meal program has destroyed Maduro's wallet, accusing him of corruption and human rights violations, overseeing the once-prosperous OPEC country's six-year economic collapse.
The Venezuelan Ministry of Information did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Saab is investigating crimes including money laundering and the country has 35 billion Colombian pesos (28 9.28 million), the Colombian Attorney General's Office said on Tuesday. ($ 1 = 3,773.0000 Columbian Pesos) (Reporting by Luke Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Brad Heath in Washington; Editing by Diane Craft)

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