Fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov faces new charge in Kazakhstan

Mukhtar Ablyazov

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s Anticorruption Bureau on February 2 said that fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov has been charged with the creation of an international criminal community and summoned to the bureau’s headquarters in Astana by February 10, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported.

The 53-year-old former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion. He denies the accusation, saying the case against him is politically motivated.

Kazakhstan authorities earlier charged Ablyazov with embezzlement, organizing a criminal group, illegally obtaining other people’s property, financial mishandling, money laundering, and abuse of office.

Ablyazov was arrested on the French Riviera in 2013 after months on the run. He was released from jail on December 9 after France’s highest administrative court cancelled an order for his extradition to Russia, saying the request had been made for political reasons.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer said on December 7 that France must refrain from extraditing an individual to a country where there are serious grounds for believing that he is at risk of being subjected to torture.

He also noted that Russia can extradite Ablyazov to Kazakhstan, where there are serious grounds to believe that Ablyazov is at risk of being subjected to torture.

Ablyazov said after his release that he is aiming to topple Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s government within the next three years.

Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France, but has such deals with Russia and Ukraine.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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