Spanish court rules to extradite broker to Venezuela

<p>MADRID &mdash; Spain’s National Court has approved the extradition of a financial broker wanted in Venezuela on charges of fraud and embezzlement of funds.</p>
<p>The ruling on 40-year-old Ernesto Quintero triggered protests Friday among the Venezuelan community in Spain and Venezuelan opposition representatives. </p>
<p>Protesters, including Quintero´s wife, demonstrated near the court in Madrid, calling for Spain to stop the extradition given the political instability in the Caribbean country.</p>
<p>Quintero worked in a stock exchange in the western Venezuelan city of Marcaibo that was seized by authorities in 2010 owing to alleged fund-management irregularities, the unauthorized sale of client investments and for funneling money to Britain’s Virgin Islands.</p>
<p>He was arrested in Spain early in 2019 but released with conditions while his extradition was studied. He was detained again this week.</p>
<p>The court’s three-judge panel rejected Quintero’s argument that there were political motivations behind Venezuela’s extradition request and that he would be in physical danger if handed over.</p>
<p> Antonio Ecarri, a Venezuelan politician designated as ambassador to Spain for the parallel government of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, claimed that any extradition now was a virtual death sentence given Venezuela’s human rights record.</p>
<p>Spain has previously rejected other extradition requests from Venezuela on human rights grounds.</p>
<p>The ruling can be appealed.</p>