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​Italy Grants Refugee Status To Fugitive Kazakh Banker's Family

Italy has granted refugee status to the wife and daughter of Mukhtar Ablyazov, the former head of one of Kazakhstan's largest banks who is wanted for embezzlement.

Anton Giullo Lana -- the lawyer for Ablyazov's wife, Alma Shalabaeva and young daughter Alua -- said the Italian government recognizes Shabalaeva's well-founded "fear of persecution."

Shalabaeva and Alua were captured in a raid in Italy, taken to a plane, and forcibly returned to Kazakhstan in an incident that raised a huge scandal in Italy last year.

Kazakhstan allowed the mother and daughter to return to Italy in December following appeals from the Italian government and a large amount of bad publicity aimed at the Kazakh government.

Ablyazov remains in detention in France where he is fighting extradition to Russia and Ukraine.

He is wanted in both countries on charges of massive fraud.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Reuters

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