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Kyrgyz Security Chief Resigns Under Pressure Amid Corruption Allegations

Idris Kadyrkulov

BISHKEK -- The chairman of Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (UKMK), Idris Kadyrkulov, has resigned under pressure amid widespread allegations of corruption.

Kyrgyzstan's presidential press service said on May 15 that President Sooronbai Jeenbekov accepted Kadyrkulov resignation.

Earlier in the day, Kadyrkulov said in a statement that he'd decided to resign to end rumors alleging that he was "interested in a certain result of investigations launched into purchase of blank biometric passports" from a foreign country by Kyrgyzstan's State Registration Service (MKK).

In early February, the MKK announced that a Lithuanian company, Garsu Pasaulis, had won a tender on printing blank biometric passports for Kyrgyzstan.

But in April, the results of the tender were canceled and the UKMK launched an investigation into alleged irregularities that bolstered the Lithuanian firm's bid.

The MKK's chairwoman, Alina Shaikova, was fired and her two deputies were arrested in mid-April in the wake of the probe.

Doubts about Kadyrkulov's objectivity in the ongoing investigation were sparked this week when Shaikova announced this week that Kadyrkulov had organized her meeting in December with representatives of a European company involved in printing state documents.

On May 14, the UKMK confirmed that Kadyrkulov had organized the December meeting. But it said the gathering had nothing to do with the investigation into the passport scandal.