Kyrgyzstan: Ex-presidential candidate Babanov questioned in bank takeover case

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The financial police in Bishkek have questioned a former Kyrgyz presidential candidate 10 days after he returned from nearly two years of self-imposed exile, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Financial police spokeswoman Anastasia Piskur told RFE/RL on August 19 that Omurbek Babanov was summoned for questioning as part of a criminal investigation into the takeover of the commercial bank Kyrgyzstan several years ago.

She did not provide further details.

A former prime minister and a wealthy businessman, Babanov returned to Kyrgyzstan from Moscow on August 9.

Babanov finished second in the October 2017 presidential election, and left the country after authorities launched an investigation into charges that he incited ethnic hatred during the campaign.

Before Babanov’s return, on August 8, the State Committee of National Security said that he was a defendant in two criminal cases — on the fact of his speech in Amir-Timur microdistrict in Osh city in 2017 where he said provocative words (the case has not been closed), and on preparations for a violent seizure of power and riots, which was suspended, 24.kg news agency reported.

Babanov has denied the accusations.

Babanov, who is the leader of Respublika (Republic) party, has alleged the 2017 vote was marred by violations.

Sergey Kwan

TCA