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France's Top Appeals Court Upholds Extradition Of Fugitive Kazakh Banker

The top French appeals court has upheld the extradition of fugitive Kazakh banker Mukhtar Ablyazov to either Russia or Ukraine.

Now French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has to decide which of the two countries Ablyazov would be handed to. The court's March 4 decision can be appealed at France's State Council.

Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France, but has such deals with Russia and Ukraine.

An appellate court in the French city of Lyon authorized Ablyazov's extradition in October.

Ablyazov is wanted for embezzlement by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine. He is accused of embezzling some $5 billion when he was head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank.

Ablyazov, a former minister who had also been a leading opposition figure in Kazakhstan, says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Ablyazov was arrested on the French Riviera in 2013 after months on the run.

Based on reporting by Reuters and