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Kyrgyz Customs Chief Detained On Suspicion Of Corruption

State Customs Service chief Adilet Kubanychbekov recently told RFE/RL that all corruption in the service had been eradicated.

BISHKEK -- The head of Kyrgyzstan's State Customs Service, Adilet Kubanychbekov, has been arrested on accusations of corruption.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said on January 17 that Kubanychbekov and his subordinates were suspected of receiving bribes to illegally create advantages for some import firms.

Kubanychbekov was appointed to the post in October 2021.

Last month, he told RFE/RL that all corruption in the Customs Service had been eradicated.

The Central Asian state's Customs Service has been criticized for widespread corruption for years.

In 2019, an investigation by RFE/RL, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and Kloop implicated former deputy chief of the customs service Raimbek Matraimov in a corruption scheme involving the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars out of Kyrgyzstan by Chinese-born Uyghur businessman Aierken Saimaiti, who was subsequently assassinated in Istanbul in November 2019.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the estimated $700 million scheme involved a company controlled by Matraimov bribing officials to skirt customs fees and regulations, as well as engaging in money laundering, "allowing for maximum profits."