(Reuters) – Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman close to socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who was charged by the United States with alleged money laundering last year, has been arrested in Cape Verde, his attorney said on Saturday.
Maria Dominguez, Saab’s U.S.-based attorney, declined to provide further details about his arrest in the archipelago nation off the coast of western Africa.
It was unclear who arrested Saab.
In July 2019, U.S. prosecutors charged Saab and another Colombian businessman with money laundering related to a 2011-2015 scheme to pay bribes to take advantage of Venezuela’s government-set exchange rate.
The U.S. Treasury Department has also imposed sanctions on Saab for allegedly orchestrating a vast corruption network for food imports and distribution in Venezuela and profiting from overvalued contracts, including the food subsidy program.
U.S. officials said the food program lined the pockets of Maduro, who has overseen a six-year economic collapse of the once-prosperous OPEC nation and stands accused of corruption and human rights violations.
Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; editing by Diane Craft)