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MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is preparing documents for the extradition from France of former banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, who is wanted by the Kazakh law enforcement agencies, the press centre of the Russian Interior Ministry told Tass on Thursday.
France has no agreement on extradition with Kazakhstan, but the businessman may be extradited to Russia or Ukraine.
“The Russian side is preparing necessary documents,” a source said. In Russia, Ablyazov is involved in a criminal case over the theft of funds belonging to Kazakh BTA Bank. According to available data “an international criminal group, led by the former director general, chairman of the board of directors and owner of the above mentioned bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, embezzled over five billion dollars”.
Ablyazov himself was initially hiding in Great Britain but later fled after the High Court of London ruled to sentence him to 22 months in prison for disrespect of the court, the press service specified.
Ablyazov led BTA Bank from 2005 to 2009, when he was removed from office and accused of fraud. In February 2009 he fled to Great Britain.
The court of French Aix-en-Provence said on Thursday that the arrested Kazakh businessman may be extradited upon a request from Ukraine or Russia, and not Kazakhstan.
“France has no agreement on extradition with Kazakhstan. At the same time extradition to Ukraine or Russia is possible if the court rules this,” a court representative said. At the present time it considers a request from Ukraine, where the Ablyazov-led BTA Bank was making operations.