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Kyrgyz Opposition Party Demands President And His Son Resign


Gurevich has been accused of embezzling billions of dollars
Gurevich has been accused of embezzling billions of dollars
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party has demanded that President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his son resign, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The party statement came after reports earlier this week that Italian authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of Yevgeny Gurevich, a business associate of Bakiev's son, Maksim.

Gurevich is accused of embezzling some $2.7 billion from Italian telecom companies.

Gurevich is the head of the MGN Group, which has been involved in the Kyrgyz investment market since 2008. It has numerous holdings, including banks, and is one of Kyrgyzstan's most powerful conglomerates. Gurevich announced on March 10 that he is stepping down from MGN to "fix misunderstandings [that have] occurred in Italy."

MGN is also a major partner of Kyrgyzstan's Central Agency for Development and Investments, which is headed by the president's son, Maksim Bakiev. The agency was created by the president in November.

The Ata-Meken statement says "the state lobbied the interests of individuals, damaging national interests and creating conditions that enabled a private company to receive fantastic profits at the cost of the country's impoverishment."

Ata-Meken said that Gurevich should be arrested and Maksim Bakiev, who the party said "discredited himself with dubious financial and political projects," should resign from his post along with his father.

Roza Otunbaeva, the leader of the Social Democratic faction in parliament, said in parliament on March 11 that "the individual presented by Bakiev's
government as a financial genius [Gurevich] turned out to be an accountant for the Italian mafia."

Otunbaeva called on the pro-government Ak-Jol (Bright Path) party -- which holds and overwhelming majority in parliament -- to start putting the country's interests first.