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Kazakh Authorities Find Weapons At Ex-Minister's Home

Rakhat Aliev remains in Austria as Kazakh authorities investigate his father's home (file photo) (OSCE) August 27, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh officials say they have found illegal weapons at the home of a former health minister whose son is at the heart of a political scandal, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

The Interior Ministry today said a variety of weapons were found at ex-minister Mukhtar Aliev's home during an investigation of kidnapping charges against his son, Rakhat.

Rakhat Aliev is a former ambassador to Vienna who successfully fought his extradition in an Austrian court. He is recently divorced from the daughter of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Rakhat Aliev has accused Nazarbaev of persecuting him since he expressed an interest in succeeding him as president.

Kazakh authorities announced the weapons-related investigation against Mukhtar Aliev after he was prevented from boarding a flight to London on August 21.

The Interior Ministry says investigations are under way to determine whether the weapons at Mukhtar Aliev's home were used during the kidnapping of two Nurbank executives allegedly organized by Rakhat Aliev.

The Kazakh media today published an open letter from the elder Aliev to President Nazarbaev, asking him to forgive his son's wrongdoing and halt the investigations.

In his letter, Mukhtar Aliev says he is ready to help to "resolve any issue."

He also reminded the president that they have grandchildren and a great-grandchild in common.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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