Man wanted for huge illegal cash withdrawals from Kyrgyzstan shot dead in Istanbul

BISHKEK (TCA) — A businessman from China’s Xinjiang Province whose name was cited in an investigative report by RFE/RL about the illegal withdrawal of some $700 million from Kyrgyzstan has been shot dead in Istanbul, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Turkish media reports say that Aierken Saimait (aka Ayerken Saymaiti) was shot at a restaurant in Istanbul’s Fatih district by an unknown attacker on November 10 and died later in a hospital.

Earlier in May, RFE/RL obtained documents confirming that at least $250 million had been taken from Kyrgyzstan abroad via bank accounts belonging to Saimait and a Kyrgyz company.

After RFE/RL’s report, Kyrgyzstan’s Service for Fighting Against Economic Crimes confirmed that Saimait, an ethnic Uyghur from Xinjiang wanted by Kyrgyz authorities for alleged financial fraud, his spouse Vufuli Bumailiamu, and the company Abdyraz had sent more than $646 million from Kyrgyzstan abroad via 11 bank accounts.

The investigation also revealed that the activities of Saimait and his wife had been allegedly linked to a Kyrgyz foundation with ties to the family of lawmaker Iskender Matraimov.

Matraimov has denied the allegation.

Sergey Kwan


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.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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