[DO READ THIS UPDATE] I was meant to have a meeting with Alex Saab on Monday, 25th November. Expectedly, he didn't show up, sending instead a Venezuelan lawyer called Amir Nassar. Nassar came to London to "open a communication channel" with me. He wanted to meet face to face and "get the conversation" going. The "conversation" is, mainly, about Saab's operations in Venezuela, and to a lesser extent his network of companies in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain and Malta. Last Friday, Ecuador's Attorney General's Office issued arrest warrants for two members of Saab's Fondo Global de Construccion's staff for money laundering. They are allegedly involved in $159.9 million worth of fictitious export transactions to Venezuela (real value of exports $3.1 million), between December 2012 and March 2013. Ecuador's Attorney's Office has seized all assets belonging to Fondo Global de Construccion, as well as $55 million held in two bank accounts. It seems Ecuador is doing its job in fighting corruption.
Before the meeting, I had sent a series of questions to Saab. After the meeting, I emailed the same set of questions to Nassar (ccing Saab), adding another question about Saab's involvement in his Ecuadorian company scandal, and demanding from Saab's Colombian lawyer, Abelardo de la Espriella, either a retraction, or evidence that I was a "fugitive of Venezuelan Justice", as de la Espriella claimed in an email to the editor of Colombia's Semana magazine. I would wait for replies and retraction until Friday the 29th, at 5pm London time.
Well, I must say that things are turning up as expected. Yesterday Nassar, already back in Caracas, sent me 14 messages through BBM, urging me to call him. I said he should email me any information, or replies to my set of questions. Today he sent me another message, and I called him. He said that he had communicated my request to de la Espriella, that de la Espriella had agreed to send communications retracting his spurious accusations, but that he needed a background check, a judicial record, from Venezuelan authorities, stating whether or not I am involved in any pending case. So de la Espriella, one of Colombia's better known lawyers let's not forget, did not need to run a background check before making his spurious accusations against me, but he needs one now, to issue a retraction.
Nassar also said that he wanted to "help me", that he had made some enquiries, and that he had been told (I am not joking) that I had "un cúmulo de denuncias" against me. "Cúmulo" translates into pile, or heap. "Denuncias" means complaints (legal). I couldn't help but to crack up laughing. Imagine, a "pile of legal complaints" against me have been filed by who knows who, in who knows what kangaroo courts in Venezuela, and I am yet to be informed. Not one or two, but a "pile". So I asked him what had I been accused of. He said he didn't know, "me están averiguando" (someone's finding out for me...). That someone told Nassar that there were a "pile" of complaints against me, but didn't know what about. Right...
In Venezuela, lawyers reading please correct me if I'm wrong, only the Ministerio Público (Office of the Attorney) can start penal investigations against people, either on its own, or following up on a legal complaint filed by a third party. That, or a private party filing a penal accusation against another party in a tribunal. In both cases, all parties are sufficiently notified about proceedings. If the whereabouts of the accused are unknown, courts order notifications to be published in the media. In the case a party issues proceedings against another in a tribunal, the issuing party opens itself to counter lawsuit for damages, etc. Then, only a lawyer with a power of attorney, can request a report from the Attorney's Office on whether or not someone is involved in pending legal cases. So, after our conversation, I sent Nassar a couple of questions via BBM:
- Given that you're a lawyer, please explain to me how a citizen can have a "pile of legal complaints" and not have been notified by the courts.
- Explain to me also, how without a power of attorney did you get the information about the "pile of legal complaints" against me.
Incredibly enough Nassar had the chutzpah of asking me to send him a power of attorney, so that he could get the background check from the Attorney's Office to then send it to de la Espriella, so that he could retract his comments! It beggars belief, right? Nassar already said he won't be able to meet my deadline. To date, not one of my questions has been answered, and no evidence of previous track record has been furnished by these pathetic bunch of thugs.
In any case, I will hold until tomorrow, at 5pm, to reveal the connection between Saab, and the $159.9 million fraud his Ecuadorian company is believed to be involved in (there is a clear connection linking Saab to it all, whether he wants to admit it or not). But the funny thing here is the rationale of these bloody thugs. Saab, and Nassar, flatly deny any wrongdoing, claiming that until there's a sentence, issued by a court, Saab must be given the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty argument. Fair enough. However, Saab's lawyers forgot that very principle when it comes to accuse me of being a "fugitive of Venezuelan Justice".