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Kazakh Former Regional Governor's Associates Jailed

A group of associates of the former governor of Kazakhstan's western oil-rich Atyrau Province, Bergei Rysqaliev, has been sentenced on corruption charges.

The trial of the 22 defendants charged with fraud, embezzlement, and abuse of office lasted for almost a year.

On November 14, the Atyrau Regional Court sentenced 15 of the defendants to prison terms between 2 and 15 years.

Two more defendants received suspended sentences. Three female defendants had their sentences deferred because they have minor children, but will have to serve their jail terms after their chidren are 18.

Two defendants were acquitted.

Rysqaliev and his brother Amanzhan have been charged in absentia with abuse of office and embezzlement in January 2013. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

The energy-rich Atyrau region is a major source of revenues for Kazakhstan.

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