French Cassation Court approves Ablyazov's extradition05 march 2015, 17:32
The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, thereby approving his extradition to either Russia or Ukraine, Tengrinews reports citing RIA Novosti.
Thus, Mukhtar Ablyazov will be sent to one of the countries demanding his extradition. The court was supposed to make the decision on where to extradite the former head of BTA – Russia or Ukraine on March 4. It has not yet been announced which country Ablyzov will be extradited to. This information will become available after the Court's decision will be approved by the French government.
After the decision to grant the extradition request, the Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic needs to sign a decree on his transfer to one of the countries. This decision may be appealed in the French Council of State.
In Russia, the former banker is charged with a number of offenses including fraud, forgery, abuse of power, embezzlement of $5 billion. In Ukraine, the banker is wanted for financial crimes worth $400 million.
Kazakhstan also seeks the extradition of Ablyazov but it does not have an extradition agreement with France. In Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Ablyazov is accused of financial irregularities in excess of $6 billion. Here he faces up to 13 years imprisonment with confiscation of property.
Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested in France in July 2013 and has been held in custody since. In January 2014, a French lower court called for the extradition of the banker, but in April that decision was reversed by the Court of Cassation. The case was reviewed by the Court of Appeal of Lyon, who in late October also recommended granting the request for the banker’s extradition, giving priority to the Russian side.
The recent decision by the Court of Cassation has been welcomed by BTA Bank.
"The today's decision by the Court of Cassation brings us closer to bringing Mr. Ablyazov to justice for his actions," said a representative of BTA Bank.
In turn, legal advisor of BTA Bank in France Antonin Levy said that "the successive decisions of the French judiciary and the today's decision with regards to Ablyazov once again confirms the legitimacy of the extradition requests."
"There is no doubt that Ablyazov got a fair trial in the French legal system, and the today's decision of the Court will limit his attempts to evade justice and continue legal maneuvering," he said.
By Dinara Urazova