New Criminal Code: Kazakhstan to reserve to confiscation of property without court verdict in exceptional cases only 14 января 2014, 21:20
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Photo a courtesy of Tengrinews
Confiscation of property without a court verdict will only be used in cases against fugitive criminals and to reverse illegal acquisition of property in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing First Deputy Prosecutor General Iogan Merkel. New amendments to the Draft Criminal Court were discussed at the Majilis (the Lower Chamber of the Kazakhstan Parliament) meeting. Merkel addressed confiscation of property at the meeting with the Majilis work group on the Criminal Code. “Confiscation of property without a court verdict is prescribed by the Article 54 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and we have presented it as it is, without any changes. It will be used only in exceptional situations. It is not going to become a common practice,” Merkel said. He stressed that this law will be used only in cases against fugitive criminals who are put on the international wanted list. “We have already made amendments to the law and we are working on the changes with the Head of the Working Group Ramazan Sarpekov,” Merkel continued. Merkel suggested to start applying the law on confiscation of all or part of illegally acquired property by transferring it into state ownership and the confiscation of property of fugitive Kazakhstani criminals without the court verdict on January 1, 2018. It is the same date when the universal declaring of income will be put into effect. Introduction of the universal declaring of income will required that all the Kazakhstan citizens report their incomes and large expenses. Only government officials and several other groups of citizens have to file the reports now. Merkel believes this confiscation provision is necessary because many countries refuse to extradite fugitive Kazakhstan criminals. “Even if we tracked down a fugitive criminal, he will not be extradited to us. It is true for several European countries, for example England does not extradite criminals (to Kazakhstan),” concluded Merkel. As mentioned at the meeting, such law is needed to bring people like Mukhtar Ablyazov back to Kazakhstan to face criminal charges for large-scale fraud. Unfortunately, Kazakhstan does not have an extradition agreement with France. When explaining the proposed regulation to the Kazakhstan Parliament last year, First Deputy Prosecutor General Iogan Merkel said: “At present, property can be confiscated from a person only based on a court order. However, there are cases, like the notorious BTA bank case, where people (charged with crimes) have left the country (Kazakhstan) and there is no way we can hold them responsible for their wrongdoing. All we can do is convict them in absentia, but the international practices are not welcoming this kind of trials. This is why, to return the illegally obtained property, an enormous amount of property in this case, back to the (Kazakhstan) government, we are introducing the option of confiscation of property without a court verdict. This is article 54 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).” In October 2013 several Kazakhstan political analysis spoke up against legalization of confiscation of property of fugitive tycoons without getting a court verdict. By Renat Tashkinbayev