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Mukhtar Ablyazov was sentenced to return

 

Source: kommersant.ru
Published: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2598379
Date: October 25, 2014г.

A French court has decided to extradite a Kazakh banker to Russia

Yesterday the Court of Appeal of Lyon, France, approved the extradition to Russia of the former owner of Kazakh BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling more than $ 5 billion funds from the bank's depositors. Mr. Ablyazov claimed that he is being persecuted for political reasons, but the court found this argument untenable, since before the ex-banker escaped from the UK, despite granted political asylum.

Ukraine and Russia were looking for the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov.
Law enforcement agencies of these countries in absentia accused him of fraud for $ 500 million and $ 5 billion respectively. Having considered the request of both countries, Judge Luc Fontaine decided that Russia has a priority.

Perhaps, his opinion was influenced by the fact that companions of Mr. Ablyazov continued to be engaged in criminal activity after his arrest.

Rather, it is about the arrest of nationalist Alexander Potkin  (Belov), who was put into pretrial detention center by Tverskoy district court on the eve of the hearing in Lyon just for criminal manipulation of Kazakh BTA Bank funds.

An attempt of Mr. Ablyazov’s lawyer to transform the case into political process failed miserably.

Initially, the judge Fontaine refused to allow to the proceedings as a witness for the defense the former world chess champion and now an opposition politician Garry Kasparov, who was going to convince the court that in Russia Mukhtar Ablyazov can not expect a fair investigation and trial.

Afterwards he also ignored the intent of the defendant banker to ask for political asylum in France, as the one from 2011 having a political asylum status in Britain, escaped from the country, committing a crime against justice.

Mr. Ablyazov, we recall, was sentenced to 22 months in prison in the UK for does not obeying the order of the court to disclose his assets as part of the trial with the BTA.

This year Britain officially denied him political asylum.

At the hearings on the extradition request there was present a representative of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

He outlined the essence of imposed to Mr. Ablyazov charges, explained in detail the provisions of Russian criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal-executive legislation, answered the questions from the court and lawyers refuting the arguments of the last of the political nature of the prosecution of ex-banker "- said to" Kommersant "the official representative Prosecutor General's Office Marina Gridneva.

As a result, she said, the court and the prosecutor's office of the French supported the position of the supervisory authority of the Russian Federation.

According to the investigative department of the Ministry of Interior, the alleged theft the former head of BTA Bank made in 2009.

Upon learning that the Kazakh authorities plan to nationalize the bank, he ordered his subordinates organize the withdrawal of the most liquid assets, including land plots with a total area of 2.5 thousand hectares in Domodedovo district of Moscow region.

He was helped by the four leaders of "Eurasia Logistics" company, who later were sentenced to long terms, and nationalist Belov, who had just been taken into custody.

It should be noted that the decision of the Lyon Court does not determine the fate of the banker, held under arrest in France for more than a year.

His defense is going to appeal the extradition ruling to the Supreme Court of France (in spring  this year the case of Mr. Ablyazov was returned for retrial because of procedural errors).

The final decision on extradition in accordance with French law makes the Prime Minister of this country.

Nevertheless, the court's decision to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov, was seen as a positive by BTA bank with a remark that it could be made earlier.

The bank stressed that the defense's arguments about the political background of the case had previously been denied by the High Court of London, which did not found in it nothing but financial fraud on the part of Mr. Ablyazov.

According to a representative of the bank, Russia can not subsequently transfer Mr. Ablyazov to Kazakhstan, where he is also wanted for fraud, since the extradition request has a clause prohibiting the transfer of the accused to third countries.

"So Mukhtar Kabulovich will be judged for cheating Russian depositors according to Russian law," - said in the BTA.

 

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