Britain sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro Saab’s envoy


FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at an event with youth from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela, June 22, 2020. Miraflores Palace / Document via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Thursday sanctioned one of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s envoys, Alex Saab, in an allegedly corrupt deal to secure supplies for the government-run food subsidy program from Maduro.

Saab, a Colombian national, is currently being held in Cape Verde and faces extradition to the United States, which accuses him of helping Maduro’s government to circumvent US sanctions imposed in 2019.

Britain said Saab was sanctioned along with his partner Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas for operating two of the Venezuelan public programs set up to provide poor Venezuelans with food and affordable housing.

“They benefited from poorly awarded contracts, where the promised goods were delivered at heavily inflated prices,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement. here. “Their actions have caused further suffering to Venezuelans already stricken by poverty, for their own private enrichment.”

Saab’s lawyers could not be contacted immediately, but previously called the US accusations “politically motivated.” Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saab was arrested last June in Cape Verde after Interpol issued a so-called red notice.

At the time of his arrest, Saab was en route to Iran to negotiate shipments of fuel and humanitarian supplies to Venezuela, his lawyers previously told Reuters. His plane had stopped in the archipelago nation off the coast of West Africa to refuel.

Also on Thursday, Britain sanctioned Teodoro Obiang Mangue, the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, for embezzling millions of dollars that London said was spent on luxury mansions, private jets and a $ 275 glove. $ 000 worn by Michael Jackson.

Additional reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, editing by William Maclean

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