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Eight new criminal cases opened against Kazakh ex-banker

August 07, 2013, 14:44 UTC+3

Ablyazov and other former top bank officials are accused of issuing knowingly irrecoverable loans to offshore companies causing losses of more than $217 million

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ASTANA, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - Kazakh Agency for Combating Economic and Corruption Crimes has opened eight new criminal cases against fugitive ex-head of Kazakh BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, a financial police officer told reporters on Wednesday.

“Eight more criminal cases against Ablyazov and other former top bank officials have been launched over the theft of BTA Bank funds,” Murat Zhumanbai said, specifying that they are accused of issuing knowingly irrecoverable loans to offshore companies causing losses of more than 217 million dollars to the bank.

Kazakhstan accuses Ablyazov, who received asylum in Great Britain, of financial violations with over
$6 billion. He was initially hiding in Great Britain but later fled to France after the High Court in London sentenced him to 22 months in prison for disrespect to the court. The Kazakh General Prosecutor’s Office asked France to extradite the former banker.

Ablyazov will spend 40 days in custody in France, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office Nurdaulet Suindikov told a news conference on Tuesday.

“On August 1, the court of Aix-en-Provence sanctioned the arrest of Ablyazov for 40 days in line with French criminal procedure legislation,” Suindikov said. “Ablyazov will remain in prison in the city of Luynes until all procedures connected with his extradition are finished,” he noted, adding that the Kazakh side would make "every effort" to secure Ablyazov's return to Kazakhstan.

The spokesman said French law enforcement agencies were considering Ablyazov’s extradition to Ukraine. “France and Ukraine are participants in the European Convention on Extradition, while Kazakhstan is not,” the spokesman said. “The final decision rests with France. We firmly intend to return him to Kazakhstan,” he said.

The former banker was detained in southern France on July 31. Russia and Ukraine also seek Ablyazov’s extradition.

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