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Ex-Kyrgyz Presidential Candidate Babanov Questioned In Bank Takeover Case

Omurbek Babanov greets supporters at Manas Airport outside Bishkek on August 9.

BISHKEK -- The financial police in Bishkek have questioned a former Kyrgyz presidential candidate 10 days after he returned from nearly two years of self-imposed exile.

Financial police spokeswoman Anastasia Piskur told RFE/RL on August 19 that Omurbek Babanov was summoned for questioning as part of a criminal investigation into the takeover of the commercial bank Kyrgyzstan several years ago.

It did not provide further details.

A former prime minister and a businessman, Babanov returned to Kyrgyzstan from Moscow on August 9.

Babanov finished second in the October 2017 presidential election, and left the country after authorities launched an investigation into charges that he incited ethnic hatred during the campaign.

On August 8, the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said the case had not been closed.

Babanov, who is the leader of Respublika (Republic) party, has alleged the 2017 vote was marred by violations.