Accessibility links

Breaking News

French Court Orders Extradition Of Fugitive Kazakh Banker


Former BTA Bank chief Mukhtar Ablyazov in an undated photo
Former BTA Bank chief Mukhtar Ablyazov in an undated photo
A French court has ruled that dissident Kazakh oligarch and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov should be extradited to Ukraine or Russia.

Ablyazov, 50, was arrested near the Riviera resort of Cannes in July and has since been in French custody.

Kazakhstan, which wants to put him on trial, has no extradition treaty with France. However, both Ukraine and Russia have requested his extradition.

Ablyazov's lawyer said he would appeal the decision.

Ablyazov is accused of having stolen up to $6 billion while running the Kazakh BTA Bank.

Ablyazov insists the accusations against him are politically motivated.

Amnesty International immediately urged France not to extradite Ablyazov, saying he would not get a fair trial in Russia or Ukraine and citing the risk he would eventually end up in Kazakhstan, "where he will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment."

In December, a French public prosecutor recommended his extradition to Ukraine on embezzlement charges, saying that Ablyazov should be considered a "criminal on a grand scale" and not a dissident.

A noted foe of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Ablyazov was the target of a massive manhunt and his wife and 6-year-old daughter were forcibly extradited by Italy to Kazakhstan.

Both of those family members were eventually returned by Kazakh authorities to Italy, where authorities were red-faced over the extradition.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters