Accessibility links

Breaking News

Fugitive Kazakh Tycoon's Brother-in-Law Gets Refugee Status In EU

The brother-in-law of fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov has obtained refugee status in Lithuania, his lawyer says.

Laimonas Judickas said on February 26 that his client, Syrym Shalabaev, had obtained legal status in the European Union nation on February 19.

Shalabaev was arrested in Lithuania last July. He is the brother of Alma Shalabaeva, the wife of former Kazakh banker and opposition figure Ablyazov.

Ablyazov is currently in custody in France fighting against a court ruling to extradite him to Russia.

France does not have an extradition agreement with Kazakhstan, and Ablyazov is wanted by Moscow.

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

Kazakh investigators say Shalabaev, who was released on bail by a court in Vilnius in December, was also involved in the alleged crime.

Ablyazov and Shalabaev say the charges against them are politically motivated.

Based on reporting by and Interfax