US President Joe Biden’s administration has released a confidante of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from prison. In return, the White House announced today that several Americans in Venezuela will be released.
Maduro’s confidant is Colombian businessman Alex Chap. A US government official said the US government hoped the exchange would open the door to dialogue with Caracas. The Latin American country must take a democratic path in the future.
Money Laundering Investigations
Saab was arrested in the Cape Verde Islands in 2020 when his private jet needed to refuel en route to Iran. A year later he was extradited to the United States, where he was tried for money laundering.
According to US investigators, Saab may have obtained detailed information about the illegal dealings of dictator President Maduro’s family and top officials in Venezuela. According to the US government, US President Biden did not take the decision to extradite Chapp lightly.
Ten Americans were extradited to the United States
According to the White House, ten Americans will be extradited to the United States — including six who were wrongfully imprisoned.
Venezuela is also handing over businessman Leonard Francis to the United States, a US government official said. Francis pleaded guilty to fraud involving luxury travel and prostitution in the US Navy, but escaped house arrest in the US in 2022. Authorities there arrested him while he was hiding in Venezuela. As part of the agreement, Venezuela will also release 20 comrades held as political prisoners.