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Lithuania Won't Extradite Fugitive Kazakh Tycoon's Relative

Lithuania has refused to extradite the brother-in-law of fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov to Kazakhstan and Ukraine, Russian media reported.

The Vilnius regional court on June 28 rejected requests by Kazakhstan and Ukraine to extradite Syrym Shalabaev. The hearing was held behind closed doors and only the court's ruling was made public.

Shalabaev was arrested in Lithuania at Kazakhstan's request in July 2015. But he was released in December and was granted political refugee status in Lithuania two months later.

Shalabaev is the brother of Alma Shalabaeva, the wife of former Kazakh banker and opposition figure Ablyazov.

Ablyazov is currently in custody in France fighting against a court ruling to extradite him to Russia.

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

Kazakh investigators say Shalabaev was also involved in the alleged crime.

Ablyazov and Shalabaev say the charges against them are politically motivated.

Based on reporting by RIA and Interfax