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Kyrgyz Authorities To Nationalize Major Bank

Azimbek Beknazarov
Azimbek Beknazarov
BISHKEK -- The head of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, Roza Otunbaeva, signed a decree today to nationalize one of the country's largest banks, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

AsiaUniversalBank used to be controlled by businessman Mikhail Nadel and Maksim Bakiev, one of ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's two adult sons from his first marriage.

The interim government said it was acting to ensure the stability of the country's banking and payment systems and to prevent the deterioration of the bank's financial condition.

Azimbek Beknazarov, deputy head of the Kyrgyz interim government for judicial reform and law enforcement, told a news conference in Bishkek today that "Nadel is a fugitive from justice now. His whereabouts are unknown. He is wanted by the National Security Service and the prosecutor's office. He owns 66 percent of the stock. Before he transfers his stock to some frontman, we're going to nationalize the bank."

The decree obliges Kyrgyzstan's National Bank and Finance Ministry to submit to the interim government within one week their plan for the bank's nationalization, taking into account the rights and interests of the bank's clients.

The interim government came to power on April 7 in the wake of mass antigovernment protests that toppled Bakiev.