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French court leaves Kazakhstan's Ablyazov in custody

23 august 2013, 16:05
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Illustration by Tengrinews.kz
Illustration by Tengrinews.kz
French court has denied release on bail to the ex-chairman of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov on bail, KazTAG reports citing ITAR-TASS.

“The French court has refused to sustain a motion of Mukhtar Ablyazov requesting release on bail. The decision was made by the investigation chamber of the Aix-en-Provence appeals court,” the agency writes.

According to the businessman’s lawyer Bruno Rebstock, “the court is not sure that Ablyazov will be safer if released”. Besides, the lawyer said that the court "found insufficient" the guarantees that Mukhtar Ablyazov would not flee France in case of release.

Mukhtar Ablyazov, 50, was arrested on July 31 not far from Cannes at the extradition request of Ukraine.

Initially the Aix-en-Provence court decided to leave Mukhtar Ablyazov in custody until the decision on his extradition is made fearing that he would flee if released. So Ablyazov has been in custody at the Aix-Luynes jail in southern France since July.

Ablyazov's extradition is sought by Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine as Ablyazov is wanted in all of these countries for major fraud. Russia and Ukraine brought fraud charges against Ablyazov and officially requested his extradition from France. Kazakhstan has no extradition agreement with France, but it has bilateral agreements with Russia and Ukraine. His extradition to Russia may face some limitations. That’s why Ukraine's changes to get Ablyazov seem the best.

Ablyazov is wanted in Kazakhstan for embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and siphoning off BTA bank's funds through dummy companies and illegal financial schemes.

BTA bank is pursuing Mr Ablyazov in London’s court for misappropriation of at least $6bn from the bank. FT called this case "one of the biggest and most complex fraud cases in banking history".

The affairs of Mukhtar Ablyazov and his accomplices are also subject to criminal investigations by law-enforcement authorities of Cyprus, Hungary and Latvia. The authorities of Ireland and Finland are checking into activities of companies affiliated with Ablyazov.

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