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Kyrgyz Officials Say Alleged Babanov-Bakiev Phone Call 'Faked'

First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov
First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (UKMK) says the audio recording of an alleged phone conversation between First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov and a fugitive son of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev is fake, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

UKMK officials told RFE/RL today that the recording of the alleged Babanov-Bakiev conversation is a spliced version of two separate conversations.

UKMK investigators said a phone conversation between Maksim Bakiev, the former president's son, and his uncle, Janysh Bakiev, was modified by replacing Janysh Bakiev's voice with statements spoken by Babanov in a television interview on Stan-TV in 2009.

The modified "phone conversation" started circulating on YouTube on May 25. Investigators say the phony recording was uploaded onto the Internet in a foreign country.

UKMK officials say they have questioned parliament deputy Omurbek Abdrakhmanov and his aide, Urmat Imanaliev, while investigating the case.

It was Imanaliev who initially gave the information about the alleged Babanov-Bakiev phone call to the media, in what Babanov said was an effort to discredit him.

Imanaliev said he received an SMS message from an unknown person about the Internet link to the faked Babanov-Bakiev conversation.

Babanov heads the Respublika party, a member of the three-party ruling coalition, and is considered by many to be a potential candidate in the presidential election to be held in the fall.

He has also been tipped by experts and some of his political rivals as the country's next premier if current Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev runs for president, as many experts expect.

Maksim Bakiev is wanted in Kyrgyzstan for financial corruption and other abuses. He was a powerful government official while his father -- who was ousted in April 2010 -- was president and is believed to be living in England.