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New Wave Of Arrests Reported In Kazakhstan

Former Deputy Environment Minister Alzhan Braliev is one of those arrested.
Former Deputy Environment Minister Alzhan Braliev is one of those arrested.
АSTANA -- More officials and company heads have been arrested in Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Financial Police spokesman Murat Zhumanbai has said that police on June 2 detained KIIK company executives Serik Turzhanov and Aleksandr Nisanov, as well as Statistics Committee Chairman Birlik Mendybaev.

Last week, the chief of the Environment Department in Astana, Abdinur Bataev, and Statistics Agency Deputy Chairman Nurman Bayanov were arrested.

An investigation of ex-Environment Minister Nurlan Iskakov and his former deputies, Zeynulla Sarsembaev and Alzhan Braliev, were announced and the three have been brought to court for hearings.

An international search warrant was also issued for Environment Ministry department director Tatyana Savitskaya and Mercury Plus company director Viktor Lais.

All of those arrested face charges of corruption and financial crimes.

Early last month, leaders of Kazakhstan's main uranium producer, Kazatomprom, were detained and accused of financial crimes.

Prominent banker and politician Mukhtar Ablyazov left Kazakhstan with his associates earlier this year after the authorities took over his BTA bank and launched an investigation into his business activities.

Relatives of some of those detained say the charges are baseless and opposition leaders and activists insist the wave of arrests is politically motivated.