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Kyrgyz Commission Faults Deputy PM Over 'Illegal Financial Activity'

Omurbek Babanov, first deputy prime minister of Kyrgyzstan

Omurbek Babanov, first deputy prime minister of Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz parliamentary commission says it has evidence that First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov was involved in illegal financial activity, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The commission, set up by opposition lawmakers last month, presented its findings on May 25.

It said that Babanov, among other things: illegally regained Kyrgyz citizenship in 1999; illicitly bought a bank in his mother's name; and illegally deprived some businessmen of their property and businesses.

Babanov said the commission's findings were politically motivated.

Another commission set up by a party that is in the ruling coalition cleared Babanov earlier this month on similar accusations.

Babanov stepped down temporarily as first deputy premier on April 13 following allegations by former Prosecutor-General Kubatbek Baibolov's that he was involved in illegal financial activities.

He resumed his duties on May 16 after the first commission found no evidence to substantiate those accusations.

Babanov, who heads the Respublika party, is considered by many to be a potential candidate in the presidential election to be held before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz businessman Valery Khon, who was scheduled to make a statement to the opposition-dominated commission, was attacked today in parliament

Khon had accused Babanov earlier this year of financial malpractice and illegally confiscating property from some businesses.

Khon declined to report his beating to the police, saying it would be pointless. He said the attackers may have been members of Babanov's security team.

Babanov responded by publicly announcing that he plans to sue Khon for that statement.

Read more in Kyrgyz here