ASTANA (TCA) — The Moscow City Court has approved the extradition to Astana of Kazakh business tycoon Zhomart Ertaev, who is wanted in Kazakhstan for alleged financial fraud, RFE/RL reported.
The court’s spokeswoman, Ulyana Solopova, said on January 11 that the Kazakh Prosecutor-General’s request to extradite Ertaev had been found to be legal and grounded.
Ertaev’s lawyer, Aleksei Petrov, said that the court’s ruling will be appealed.
Moscow police arrested Ertaev in May 2018 at Kazakhstan’s request and placed the fugitive oligarch under house arrest.
Ertaev’s lawyers have said their client denounced his Kazakh citizenship and asked for political asylum in Russia on the grounds that he may be killed if he is sent back to Kazakhstan.
Kazakh authorities said in May 2018 that Ertaev was suspected of helping arrange loans worth more than $80 million to bogus companies while working as an adviser to Bank RBK in Kazakhstan.
Ertaev spent nine months in pretrial detention in Kazakhstan in 2009 on suspicion of embezzlement, but was released after a court dropped those charges.
He was found guilty, however, on lesser charges of misusing bank funds and violation accounting regulations.
The court ordered his release on grounds that his nine months in pretrial detention was sufficient punishment.
Russian media have reported that Ertaev is the chairman of Troyka-D Bank in Moscow and an honorary president of Alma Group, an investment company based at Moskva-Citi business complex in the Russian capital.