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French court postpones Ablyazov's extradition trial

05 february 2015, 21:42
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Mukhtar Ablyazov ©Yaroslav Radlovsky
Mukhtar Ablyazov ©Yaroslav Radlovsky

The Court of Cassation of France that was expected to make a decision on the extradition case of the fugitive Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov, has postponed the trial until February 18, Tengrinews reports citing RIA Novosti.

Former head of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested in France on July 2013. His extradition is sought by Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, but the latter does not have an extradition agreement with France.

If the Court of Cassation, the highest court of France, approves the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov, the final decision on his extradition will be made by a decree of the Prime Minister of France. But it too can be appealed in the Council of State.

In January 2014 the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence approved the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov, but the decision was reversed by the Court of Cassation over a formality in April. Later, the case was reviewed by the Court of Appeal of Lyon, which in October also recommended granting the extradition request to either Russia or Ukraine, giving priority to Russia because it was claiming large amounts of damages.

Meanwhile, the Russian Prosecutor's Office expects Ablyazov to be transferred to Russia as soon as this year. There is a warrant for his arrest as he is charged with a number of criminal offenses, including fraud, forgery and abuse of authority.

In his native Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Ablyazov is accused of financial crimes in excess of $6 billion. But he did not stand trial because he fled the country after the case was initiated in 2009 and lived in Britain for a long time. But he had to leave that country too, purportedly to avoid imprisonment after a court in UK found him lying about his assets as sentenced to 22 months in prison for contempt of court.

By Dinara Urazova


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