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Security & Strategic Review - January 2022

VENEZUELA/ECUADOR: Saab under scrutiny in Ecuador

The 16 October extradition from Cape Verde to the US of the Colombian financier Alex Saab, an alleged fixer and money launderer for President Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela, is still sending political shockwaves through Latin America. The first casualty of Saab’s extradition was the dialogue process between the Venezuelan opposition and the Maduro administration, which the government suspended in protest at what it decried as a violation of diplomatic immunity. Further revelations of Saab’s alleged corrupt activities are now emanating from Ecuador, where on 13 December the national assembly’s tax commission published a report accusing Saab of being at the heart of a corruption racket between Venezuela and Ecuador. This raises difficult questions for Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), with a currency exchange system he helped launch allegedly serving as the key mechanism for money laundering on behalf of Venezuelan officials.

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