Former Kyrgyz Official Matraimov Extradited in Connection with Assassination Plot

According to statements issued by the special services of Kyrgyzstan, former deputy head of the customs service Raimbek Matraimov is connected with assassins who recently came to Bishkek from Azerbaijan to assassinate members of Kyrgyzstan’s leadership.

On March 23 Kyrgyz law enforcement became aware that the wanted Matraimov was in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. The State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan (CNSK) sent a letter to the Azeri authorities with a request to detain and extradite him. In Baku this request was fulfilled. Matraimov’s brothers were also detained and flown to Kyrgyzstan, the CNSK reported.

The investigation into Matraimov alleges that his clan once had its own people in virtually all government agencies, including the police, prosecutor’s office, and parliament, where an entire political party worked on his behalf. Matraimov’s group had enormous resources, and numerous levers of influence over the authorities. The 2020 coup d’état in Kyrgyzstan was carried out in part because Matraimov’s party won the elections. As a result, those elections were deemed as corrupt, and subsequently voided.

Matraimov was put on an international wanted list on January 26. He was charged in absentia under two articles of the Kyrgyz criminal code: illegal imprisonment and legalization of criminal proceeds.

As The Times of Central Asia has previously reported, on March 22 in the center of Bishkek authorities detained members of a transnational criminal group, who came to Bishkek from Azerbaijan to assassinate the Kyrgyz political leadership. Kyrgyzstan’s special services believe that Matraimov is linked to the criminals and is involved in organizing the assassination attempt. It was also reported that the former official was extradited with the aid of a government board of Kyrgyz authorities.