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More details of Ablyazov's arrest and future plans

02 august 2013, 18:23
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Mukhtar Ablyazov. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Mukhtar Ablyazov. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
The police operation to arrest the ex-chairman of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov involved 3 investigators and 12 officers of French elite police and a helicopter, RIA Novosti writes.

According to the police sources, Ablyazov, his sister, niece and servants were constantly moving from one house to another. Lately he has been renting the Zenith villa with 6 bedrooms and a huge park. The arrest went smoothly with no incidents. The banker did not resist the arrest, but tried to mislead the police, insisting that there was a mistake and his name was not Mukhtar Ablyazov. “He did not want to admit that it was him and insisted there was a mistake. However, there were no doubts thanks to the available photographs,” the police officer said.

Solange Legras, chief state prosecutor for international cases at Aix-en-Provence Appeals Court, held a hearing on Ablyazov's case on Thursday, The Marietta Times writes. She told The Associated Press that special police forces, entered the rented villa in Mouans Sartoux to arrest Ablyazov.

Legras said that police used "powerful means" because Ablyazov was reported to have a "private militia”. No shots were made and no physical damage was caused during the operation.

Ablyazov was arrested "in shorts and a T-shirt”. He had a diplomatic passport issued by Central African Republic. It was "probably false," Legras said. Police did not search the site as they were only had an arrest warrant, not a search warrant.

During the hearing that involved three lawyers Ablyazov insisted that he was granted a political asylum in Great Britain. But Legras said that her role was only to explain the possible extradition process and not to get involved in the case. After the hearing Ablyazov was transferred to a detention facility in the town of Luynes.

The defense of the exile banker is planning to achieve his release before the extradition ruling is made. Ablyazov’s lawyer Bruno Rebstock said that Ablyazov was interviewed by French prosecutors on Thursday and they officially notified him that he is an object of Ukrainian extradition request. He was then returned to the jail near Aix-en-Provence. “He is very determined and ready for the battle,” the lawyer said.

Ablyazov's lawyer as determined to get their client out of jail. They insist that house-arrest with an electronic tracking bracelet could be an alternative for the jailing.

Rebstock said that he was planning to file a request on Ablyazov’s release in the nearest time. The defense has to submit a lease agreement for Ablyazov’s proposed residence to the court. After that the judged will consider granting the house-arrest, possibly with additional financial security, within 10 days.

According to the lawyer, France is expecting Ukraine to submit the documents for the extradition is late August or early September.

Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested on July 31 not far from Cannes . He was apprehended under extradition request of Ukraine.

The Aix-en-Provence court decided to leave Mukhtar Ablyazov in custody until the decision on his extradition is made. The extradition is awaited by Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine as Ablyazov is wanted in all of these countries for major fraud. Kazakhstan has no extradition agreement with France, Russia is preparing its extradition request, but can face limitations. This leave Ukraine as the most likely destination of Ablyazov's extradition.

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