UPP leader calls Colombian envoy debacle “a black eye”

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Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, has described the controversy surrounding Colombian businessman Alex Nain Saab Moran as “a black eye” to the public face of Antigua and Barbuda.

A Bloomberg article, dated April 25, detailed allegations against Saab Moran.

 It said the Colombian government had issued a warrant for his arrest and US investigators believed he was “one of the most powerful financial enablers of the Maduro regime.”

Lovell said the allegations are “subjecting us to the type of international attention that is not in our best interest.”

Lovell added, “It is very worrying when we recognize that the person under investigation, Alex Nain Saab Moran, is wanted by the Colombian government… in connection with drug smuggling and money laundering.

“It is also curious that he came to the ABLP government in June 2014, according to press reports, which would be right around the general election.”

Until recently, the 47-year-old Colombian was the holder of an Antigua and Barbuda diplomatic passport, accredited to represent the country internationally.

Saab Moran was reportedly made a special economic envoy for Antigua and Barbuda which, according to Foreign Minister Chet Greene, was merely an effort to utilize the individual’s high net worth and extensive international contacts for the purpose of attracting investments to the twin-island state.

      Greene further stated that there was nothing underhanded about the appointment.

But Lovell questioned the extent and quality of background checks carried out on Saab Moran prior to his appointment to represent Antigua.

He said, “How much due diligence was really done before he was named an economic envoy? I think any government would want to make sure they double-check to ensure that the persons who are appointed to these positions are not going to bring Antigua and Barbuda into disrepute.”

He added that if extensive scrutiny is carried out by the authorities, “It could be that those in power are willfully blind to what is shown to them.”

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