Author Topic: Amnesty Appeals to France Against Ablyazov Extradition  (Read 904 times)

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Amnesty Appeals to France Against Ablyazov Extradition
« on: August 03, 2013, 16:32:55 PM »
Amnesty Appeals to France Against Ablyazov Extradition

MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) – Human rights campaign group Amnesty International has called upon the French authorities to refuse extradition of fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov to Kazakhstan, where it claims he may be subject to torture.

Ablyazov, formerly board chairman of Kazakhstan-based BTA Bank, was detained on July 31 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine are all seeking extradition of the fugitive banker for offences he allegedly committed in those countries related to BTA.

“The Kazkhstani authorities want Mukhtar Ablyazov at all costs,” said John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program.
“The French authorities must carefully consider all the angles to Ablyazov’s case and make absolutely sure that he is not sent to any country where he will be at risk of harm or of subsequently being loaded on to a plane to Kazakhstan.”

Kazakhstan and France do not have an extradition treaty and extradition to Russia may be hindered for procedural reasons, so Ukraine remains the most likely destination for his extradition, RAPSI news agency reported.

Agence France-Presse cited Ablyazov’s lawyer Bruno Rebstock as saying the oligarch was “in fighting mode and determined,” adding the defense would seek his release from French custody and submit the necessary documents in the next few days.

BTA bank was the biggest lender in Kazakhstan before it defaulted on $12 billion of debt and was taken over by the government in 2009, after which it was put under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.

Ablyazov fled to the UK immediately afterwards, where he was granted political asylum in 2011. He claims the charges against him are politically motivated after he fell out with the government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, with whom he was formerly closely associated.

In 2009, BTA filed a suit in the London High Court against Ablyazov, alleging embezzlement of $6 billion by its former top managers.

In May 2011, the court accepted the bank's complaints against Ablyazov, and has already approved the seizure of billions of dollars worth of his assets including a London mansion, according to The Independent. In February 2012, it ruled in absentia to detain him for 22 months for contempt of court.