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Russia to seek extradition of fugitive Kazakh banker from France

December 14, 2016, 16:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In 2009, former Kazakhstani Energy Minister and ex-head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov was charged both in Kazakhstan and Russia with large-scale embezzlement
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MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russia will seek the extradition of former Kazakhstani Energy Minister and ex-head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov from France, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Saak Karapetyan said on Wednesday.

"He remains on the wanted list and we’ll be seeking his extradition," he said in reply to a journalist’s question about whether Russia would continue demanding Ablyazov’s extradition.

Ablyazov held the post of Kazakhstan’s energy, industry and trade minister in 1998-1999 and in 2005-2009 he headed the BTA Bank board of directors. In 2009, he was charged both in Kazakhstan and Russia with large-scale embezzlement and a warrant for his arrest was issued. The banker was also subsequently accused by Ukraine of financial fraud, after which he went on hiding and was put on the Interpol’s international wanted list.

In July 2013, Ablyazov was arrested in France under an international warrant and has been in custody in that country since then. Both Russia and Ukraine were simultaneously demanding his extradition. As a result, priority was given to Russia’s extradition request and in September 2015 French Prime Minister Manuyel Valls signed a decree on the fugitive banker’s extradition to Russia after judicial proceedings that lasted two years and a half.

After this, the counsel for Ablyazov’s defense, which insists on the political motivation of the accusations brought against him, decided to use the last of the remaining juridical mechanisms and sent a petition to the French State Council, which canceled the ex-banker’s extradition.

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