The misguided action by the United States Department of Justice regarding its accusation against the Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, has demolished the credibility of the US body and shows that its motivation is eminently political.
According to a press release from Alex Saab's defense team, the United States Department of Justice is once again subject to criticism in the case it is promoting against the Venezuelan diplomat, whom it accuses of "money laundering" using as "elements evidence ”discredited witnesses and alleged financial anomalies that have been dismissed by the Swiss prosecutor's office and the surveillance systems of financial institutions.
Since July 2019, when it sanctioned and indicted Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab on the same day, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has repeatedly referenced that $ 350.000.000 was sent through the US banking system. , between 2011 and 2015, to accounts linked to Saab. However, the DoJ only provides "as an example" a small number of the alleged 405 "suspicious payments" without providing any evidence as to why these are of concern. Unless, of course, reports from the media serving the international right, without any foundation or evidence, in addition to random and clearly orchestrated tweets, count as evidence in the American justice system these days.
But let's take a step back and put some context on what the DoJ alleges in its indictment against Alex Saab.
The DoJ itself acknowledges that this large sum of money was transferred through, among others, Bank of America, Citibank and Deutsche Bank acting as correspondent banks. All three banks are supervised by the New York Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Are we to believe that the Compliance Departments of these three large financial institutions, and others, saw hundreds of millions of dollars pass through their clearing accounts and would not have questioned the purpose of the transfers, especially since the transfers allegedly involve the same repeated amount 405 times? These are the same financial giants that harass retail customers for inexplicable transfers of a few hundred dollars.
The Justice Department asks us to believe that the same New York Department of Financial Services, which fined Habib Bank Limited an incredible $ 600.000.000 (which was reduced to a staggering $ 225.000.000 after a review) due to failures in the fight against money laundering, a figure that represented a small fraction of the alleged suspicious sums discussed here, could not have intervened and taken action. The answer can only be that it did not because, like the compliance departments of Bank of America, Citi and Deutsche, it did not find anything suspicious or concerning in the transfers in question.
However, in indicting Alex Saab in July 2019, the DoJ now asks us to believe that, years after the transfers took place, only the DoJ, based on evidence from discredited witnesses, saw what Bank of America, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, the New York Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve Bank could not see.
The source assures that the credibility of the DoJ is even more affected when it asks to accept that the Compliance Departments of the receiving banks, the Financial Intelligence Units of those banks and their Central Banks could not have intervened in these transfers, given their magnitude if they had suspected any wrongdoing or evidence of corruption.
It is not judicial, it is political!
Earlier this year, the Geneva prosecutor ended a three-year investigation into the money laundering allegations against Alex Saab, because he found no evidence to support the allegations. The credibility of the Justice Department, which was already shattered, was further affected by the fact that the vast majority of the funds investigated in Switzerland came from the same social housing program in Venezuela that the Department of Justice has deemed problematic (without not even conduct a meaningful investigation). To add insult to injury to the DoJ, the Geneva prosecutor paid Alex Saab compensation, in addition to ending the investigation, which under Swiss law amounts to an acquittal.
The longer the United States' persecution of Alex Saab continues, the more evident it will be that it is based on a politically motivated prosecution and not on evidence that a crime has been committed. The Justice Department should confess and admit that it has been used as a political tool rather than true law enforcement. Alex Saab has been detained in Cape Verde for nearly 480 days fighting an extradition request from the United States, having been detained when his plane made a refueling stop on the island of Sal while conducting a special diplomatic mission on behalf of Venezuela.
For now, the Justice Department's game is clear. No matter where those open source media reports came from, no matter the discredited witnesses, and no matter the abject lack of evidence to support the accusation leveled against Alex Saab. Why is the Justice Department pressuring Cape Verde to extradite Saab to the United States? Because once the DoJ has Alex Saab on American soil it hopes to quickly "persuade" him to make a deal. A deal that won't require relying on dubious media reports or dubious witnesses and forgetting about having to worry about evidence. This is the despicable game the Justice Department is playing because it has lost all credibility to claim that the persecution of Alex Saab is politically motivated and without merit.