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Kazakhs Say Body Could Be That Of Missing Banker

Rakhat Aliev is suspected in the disappearances of two officials (file photo) (OSCE) ALMATY, October 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh authorities say they have found the remains of a corpse that could be one of two missing bank executives at the center of a major political row.

A deputy chief of interior for the city of Almaty, Amantai Aubakirov, told journalists today the body was located near that southern city, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

Aubakirov said the discovery followed testimony by a suspect in the disappearances early this year of Nurbank executives Zholdas Timraliev and Aibar Khasenov.

At the time, Nurbank was controlled by a powerful son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Rakhat Aliev. Aliev was subsequently divorced by the president's eldest daughter, Darigha.

Aubakirov said a suspect had placed Aliev at the scene, which was near the farm of his father, Mukhtar. "According to evidence given by one of the accused in this criminal case at the start of February 2007, on the order of Rakhat Aliev, [the perpetrators] departed in a car to the neighboring property of Mukhtar Aliev in the vicinity of the settlement of Kuldi, in the Karasai district of Almaty region," Aubakirov said. "Then along near the outskirts of the forest, they made a brief stop, where Rakhat Aliev surveyed the location."

A former Kazakh ambassador to Austria, Aliev remains in self-imposed exile in Vienna. A Kazakh extradition request was rejected by an Austrian court on the grounds that Aliev could not expect to receive a fair trial in Kazakhstan.

Aliev is wanted in Kazakhstan on a number of criminal charges -- including money laundering, corruption, extortion, and an attempted kidnapping that purportedly was aimed at forcing Timraliev and Khasenov to sell their interests in a building in Almaty.

(with material from Interfax-Kazakhstan)

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