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Kazakhstan Vows To Keep Pursuing Ablyazov After French Extradition Refusal

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Kazakh opposition figure and oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov (left), flanked by his lawyers, leaves the Fleury-Merogis jail near Paris after being released on December 9.

ASTANA -- Kazakh authorities say they will continue their efforts to prosecute fugitive tycoon and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov and his associates despite his release from custody in France.

In a statement issued on December 14, Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General's Office said that Ablyazov had been charged with embezzlement, organizing a criminal group, illegally obtaining other people's property, financial mishandling, money laundering, and abuse of office.

Ablyazov was released from a French jail on December 9 after France's highest administrative court, the Council of State court, canceled an order on his extradition to Russia, saying the extradition request had been made for political reasons.

The Kazakh tycoon was arrested on the French Riviera in 2013 after months on the run.

The French government approved Ablyazov's extradition to Russia in September 2015.

Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France, but has such deals with Russia and Ukraine.

Ablyazov, the former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion.

Ablyazov says the charges against him are politically motivated.

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