Alex Saab: The DEA’s ‘Cooperating Patriot’

Among other news, it was revealed that Alex Saab was an informant for the DEA and told them about bribes he paid to Venezuelan officers. 

  • On Wednesday, it was revealed that Alex Saab was an informant for the DEA and told them about bribes he paid to Venezuelan officers. 
    • AP journalist Joshua Goodman describes the hearing as “heated,” because Saab’s lawyers said that his family could be in danger if the regime found out about his ties with the U.S. 
    • Lawyer Neil Schuster argued that they are under the control of the regime. The judge said that the right to access criminal proceedings trumps the concerns over the family’s safety. 
    • The trial for money laundering will start on October 11th. 
  • How Saab negotiated with the U.S. was revealed after the testimonies during the trial against Bruce Bagley, who was the middleman between Saab and his payments to lawyers in the U.S. David Rivkin, a lawyer from Baker & Hostetler LLP who wasn’t in the trial, said that Saab cooperated with the U.S. to clear his name and that the meetings were carried out with full knowledge and support of Maduro’s regime. The U.S. prosecutors had already warned that this firm, Baker & Hostetler, could very well be representing Nicolás’s regime, not Saab, in order to obtain sensitive information for this trial. In any case, the documents reveal that Saab’s cooperation was even more extensive and relevant than we believed, because it started in 2016, long before he was hired by the DEA in 2018. 
  • Saab held several meetings with U.S. security forces and as part of his cooperation agreement, made three payments for ten million dollars each (obtained through corruption) to an account controlled by the DEA. He stopped being an informant when he failed to turn himself in May 2019. He was sanctioned by the Trump administration two months later. Judge Scola denied the request to post bail because Saab failed to turn himself in and tried to avoid extradition several times while he was in Cape Verde. The regime has done everything for Saab, including violating the law to appoint him an ambassador. 
  • Among the corruption practices described in the suit against Saab, it’s mentioned that even though they sent only one shipment of goods and construction materials, they presented several invoices and fake documents and SENIAT and GNB officers took pictures of the same shipment in different locations, to make it seem as if there had been many shipments. The suit says that numerous payments were made to SENIAT, GNB and CADIVI officers to assure they’d help the operation and approve the invoices. The total surpasses $350,000,000. No one has been charged in Venezuela. 
  • The CNP reported that a court refused to lift all measures and grant full freedom to Jesús Medina Ezaine, who was arrested while he was working in August 2018. He was imprisoned in Ramo Verde until January 2020. 
  • The families affected by the fire that started in Cine Cittá said that the building’s facade has been painted and cleaned up without any authorization and while the investigation is still ongoing. 
  • EU chief Rafael Dochao said that they’ll keep supporting human rights NGOs on the border. 
  • Chilean president Sebastián Piñera announced they’re deploying over 700 military and police officers on the border to solve the illegal Venezuelan migration problem.
    • The UN will build temporary camps for Venezuelan migrants crossing the Chilean border with Bolivia in Colchane and Iquique.
  • At least ten Venezuelans were arrested in Peru for robbing and murdering a farmer that refused to pay extortion. They were part of a gang called Los Salvajes de Maracaibo.
  • Noticias RCN reported five Russian radars are operating in Venezuela, some of them right on the border with Colombia, in Apure, Zulia and Táchira and others in Falcón and Fuerte Tiuna in Caracas. 
  • Tarek El Aissami had a meeting with the Russian vice president, where he expressed their intention to strengthen cooperation. Vice President Yuri Borísov highlighted Venezuela’s importance as a strategic ally in the region. 
  • The drummer of Zapato 3, Diego Márquez, died in Switzerland. 
  • The U.S., the EU and 19 countries ratified their support and commitment to a negotiated solution to restore democracy in Venezuela and their disposition to review the sanction policies if there were advancements in negotiations. They also committed to helping with the humanitarian crisis. 
  • Hugo Chávez’s former treasurer, Alejandro “El Tuerto” Andrade, who’s cooperating with the U.S. in the investigation on corruption in Venezuela, is free. He got 65% less than the original ten years that he was sentenced to. The information the former bodyguard who then became a treasurer has been useful to the U.S.; Raúl Gorrín, among others, has been charged because of it.  
  • Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez said that Colombia will do everything in its power to bring former congresswoman Aída Merlano back to the country. Merlano was arrested in Venezuela. 


Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.