Azerbaijan extradites Kyrgyzstan’s fugitive ex-customs chief charged with corruption

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s former customs chief has been extradited from Azerbaijan to Bishkek, where he is wanted on charges of abuse of office, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Kyrgyz Financial Police spokeswoman Anastasia Piskur told RFE/RL that Adamkul Junusov, the former head of the Customs Service, was transported from Baku to the Kyrgyz capital on December 28.

Junusov was detained at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport at Bishkek’s request on December 5.

The Financial Police in Bishkek has charged Junusov with “corrupt” activities as head of the Customs Service from 2013 to 2016, saying his alleged actions had cost the state treasury some 166 million soms, or about $2.1 million.

Junusov was added to Kyrgyzstan’s wanted list in August after he was indicted in absentia and a court in Bishkek issued a warrant for his arrest.

Junusov is the latest of several former officials facing corruption charges who worked under President Almazbek Atambayev from 2011-17.

Atambayev has criticized his successor, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, for sacking or arresting a number of his close allies in what he called a “pseudo-anticorruption” campaign.

Two Atambayev allies who also served as prime ministers when he was president, Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, were arrested in June on corruption charges.

In October, Atambayev’s former adviser Ikramjan Ilmiyanov was detained in Russia and extradited to Bishkek, where he was arrested on corruption charges.

Kyrgyz lawmakers and politicians have been calling for an investigation into decisions made by Atambayev while he was in office.

On December 13, the Kyrgyz parliament approved in a first reading a bill that would eliminate immunity for ex-presidents, potentially opening the path for Atambayev’s prosecution.

Sergey Kwan

TCA