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Former Economy Minister Among 23 On Trial In Kazakhstan


ASTANA -- Former Kazakh Economy Minister Quandyq Bishimbaev went on trial along with 22 other defendants charged with bribery and embezzlement on November 7.

Bishimbaev, 37, was arrested in January by Kazakhstan’s Anticorruption Service.

He pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing on October 31, while several of his co-defendants pleaded guilty and concluded deals with prosecutors.

Several former officials have faced prosecution on suspicion of graft in the tightly controlled Central Asian country, with some sentenced to long prison terms.

Also in January, state-run Unified Pension Fund chief Ruslan Erdenaev and the director of the fund's financial department, Musa Bakhtov, were arrested on suspicion of embezzlement.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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