A recently released report by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Azattyk, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and its Kyrgyz member center Kloop, details an elaborate scheme involving Kyrgyzstan’s Customs Service that saw hundreds of millions of dollars of alleged ill-gotten gains transferred outside the country.
The names that appear most in the report are Raimbek Matraimov, the former deputy chief of Kyrgyzstan’s Customs Service, and a shadowy Chinese-born Uyghur businessman named Khabibula Abdukadyr. Another name appearing is Chinese-born Uyghur Aierkan Saimaiti, the source of much of the information in the report. He was killed in Istanbul on November 10.
With officials in Kyrgyzstan already scrambling to deal with the fallout from the publication, RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion on the tremors the report is unleashing on Kyrgyzstan’s political scene.
Participating from Bosnia was Ilya Lozovsky, managing editor at the OCCRP. Joining the talk from the Boston area was Bakyt Beshimov, professor at Northeastern University, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to the OSCE, and a former deputy in the country’s parliament. I’m always happy to talk about Kyrgyz politics, so I pitched in a couple of comments also.