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Jailed Kazakh Businessman Toleshov Facing New Charges

Toktar Toleshov (right) in a courtroom with his lawyer Markhaba Zhakypova on July 13.

SHYMKENT, Kazakhstan -- A new trial has begun in the case of a wealthy Kazakh businessman with close ties to Russia who was sentenced in November to 21 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government.

A court in the southern Kazakh city of Shymkent on July 13 started hearing the case against tycoon Tokhtar Toleshov and eight co-defendants who are charged with tax evasion, financial fraud, and bribery.

The charges are linked to Toleshov's tenure as the chief of the Kazakh office of a Russia-based organization called the Center for the Analysis of Terrorist Threats.

Toleshov was arrested in January 2016. He was chief executive of one of Kazakhstan's largest breweries in Shymkent.

Toleshov has also advised Russia's parliament on matters of economic cooperation and religion.

His detention was part of a crackdown by Astana on both pro-Russian and nationalist activists.

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