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Leading Banker Leaves Kazakhstan to Protest 'Despotism'

Roman Solodchenko

Roman Solodchenko

A former Kazakh banker says he left Kazakhstan for Britain to protest the government's "despotism."

Roman Solodchenko, the former chairman of the executive committee of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service by phone from London that his family recently had to leave for Britain, in order to protect themselves from government repression.

He said that by leaving Kazakhstan he wanted to protest against the government and its "destructive measures that practically killed the bank."

Solodchenko added that there was no need to inject billions of dollars into the bank, because there "was no need to save [it] at all."

In February, Kazakh officials changed the leadership at BTA bank -- one of the most influential in Kazakhstan -- and bought a major part of its shares.

The then-chairman of BTA's board of directors, Mukhtar Abliyazov, and his deputy Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov, were sacked from their positions and left the country.

Kazakh authorities are investigating into their alleged financial misdeeds.