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Fugitive Kazakh Tycoon's Bodyguard Gets Political Asylum In Spain

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Spain has granted political asylum to Aleksandr Pavlov, a former chief of fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov's security service.

The newspaper El Pais reported on February 24 that a top administrative court issued a ruling to grant asylum to Pavlov, who was arrested in Spain in 2012, and to annul a previous decision to extradite him to Kazakhstan.

Pavlov is wanted in Kazakhstan for allegedly plotting terrorist acts, an accusation he says is false and politically motivated.

He was released on bail in July 2014.

Ablyazov is currently in custody in France, where a court in October authorized his extradition to Russia.

Accused of embezzling some $5 billion when he was head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, Ablyazov is wanted for embezzlement by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine.

Ablyazov, a former Kazakh government minister who has also been a leading opposition figure, also contends the charges against him are politically motivated.

With reporting by El Pais
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