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Kyrgyz Speaker Quits Over Alleged Criminal Ties


Then-parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov (center left) stands next to former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva (center) at an early-October event.
BISHKEK -- The speaker of Kyrgyzstan's parliament has resigned over alleged criminal links.

Akhmatbek Keldibekov's exit follows a rally by some 1,000 supporters in the southern city of Osh.

Keldibekov stressed in a statement that all of the accusations against him are baseless and he resigned in order to preserve "stability in the work of the parliament."

Kanybek Imanaliev, chairman of a parliamentary commission that investigated Keldibekov, told RFE/RL that the probe had revealed evidence that advisers and assistants appointed by Keldibekov had connections to Kyrgyz criminal groups.

Imanaliev claimed evidence that Keldibekov met with reputed Kyrgyz crime boss Kamchy Kolbaev during private trips to Dubai, Istanbul, and the Russian city of Astrakhan this year.

Asel Alieva, a Keldibekov spokeswoman, had told RFE/RL in July that she was preparing documents for criminal libel complaints against unspecified media after "materials damaging to the speaker's reputation" were published.

Reports in Kyrgyzstan earlier that month had placed Keldibekov in the United Arab Emirates to "assist Kyrgyz criminal kingpins recently arrested in Abu Dhabi."

with additional agency reporting