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Kazakh Police Search Jewelry Firm On Smuggling Suspicions

An Altyn jewelry outlet in Russia, where it was raided by the FSB
ASTANA -- Kazakh financial police have searched the offices and shops of the Altyn Jewelry company, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Murat Zhumabay, a spokesman for the financial police, told journalists in Astana that all of Altyn's shops and offices in Kazakhstan are being searched because the company is suspected of jewel smuggling.

The Altyn Holding Company was established in 1990 and has jewelry factories and gold vendors in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkey, China, and the United Arab Emirates. Its stores are known for selling jewelry at discount prices.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) launched investigations into Altyn's activities last week.

Its offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Omsk were searched by police, their employees interrogated, and several of its top managers were arrested.