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Astana Works Toward Fugitive Banker's Extradition From France

A combo photo of Kazakh entrepreneur Mukhtar Ablyazov (left) and President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- The Prosecutor-General's Office in Kazakhstan is vowing to have fugitive tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov returned to Kazakhstan.

Ablyazov, a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, was arrested last week in southern France and has been ordered to be detained for up to 40 days.

The prosecutor-general's spokesman acknowledged to journalists in Astana on August 6 that Kazakhstan has no extradition agreement with France but said that country, along with Russia and Ukraine, are members of the European Convention on Extradition.

French prosecutors are now examining Ukraine's extradition request.

Ablyazov, a wealthy former banker and influential opposition figure, fled Kazakhstan in 2009 and obtained political asylum in Britain in 2011.

He faces embezzlement charges in Kazakhstan.

He is also sought by Russia and Ukraine in connection with embezzlement charges linked to local branches of a Kazakh bank.

Ablyazov denies the charges.

Based on reporting by Kazinform and KazTAG