Ex-Mayor of Almaty Khrapunov faces criminal charges in US15 may 2014, 18:59
The city of Almaty has filed a lawsuit against its former mayor Victor Khrapunov in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Tengrinews reports citing Fort Mill Times.
The biggest city in Kazakhstan accuses Khrapunov and his wife Leila Khrapunova of embezzling more than $300 million through illegal sale of municipal property and international money laundering schemes. It alleges that the money was used to buy luxurious cars and houses, businesses and other assets in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. According to a source, the plaintiff demands that the defendant’s property is arrested and the illegally acquired money is frozen to be subsequently returned into the city's budget.
Alongside the Khrapunov couple, their adopted children Elvira and Ilyas are also being accused of participating in the money laundering scheme. Moreover, Elvira’s husband Demitri Kudryashov and Ilyas’s wife Madina Ablyazova are also defendants in the lawsuit.
Madina Ablyazova is the daughter of now infamous Mukhtar Ablyazov, former billionaire tycoon on the run, who is being accused of embezzling $6 billion from Kazakhstani bank BTA. The marriage between Madina Ablyazova and Ilyas Khrapunov took place in 2007. A little later that year a scandal broke out in connection with Victor Khrapunov’s involvement in illegal sales of land of Almaty natural reserve and other city-owned property to private developers. He was relieved of his duty as Minister of Emergency Situations in the end of October 2007. In April 2008, Khrapunov immigrated to Switzerland, where he currently resides with his family.
On his native soil in Kazakhstan Khrapunov and his wife are charged with 24 criminal counts of abusing of power, embezzling budget funds, misappropriating funds, fraud, money laundering, giving and taking bribes, and creating and running an organized criminal group.
The lawsuit in Los Angeles against Khrapunov is the first time when Khrapunov and Ablyazov names are mentioned in the same lawsuit as defendants.