Mukhtar Ablyazov: Fugitive banker ordered to leave France

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Paris, Brussels (13/7 – 37.5)

In Kazakhstan, Ablyazov was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for murder, another sentence related to the creation of a criminal community, embezzlement and money laundering. In Russia, the ex-banker was sentenced to 15 years for embezzlement of almost 60 billion rubles.

The French authorities demanded that the former head of the Kazakh BTA Bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, leave the country within 30 days. He announced this on his Facebook page (owned by Meta, whose activities in Russia are recognized as extremist and banned). Ablyazov’s extradition is simultaneously sought by Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. The former banker has been in Europe for more than ten years.

Former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov has received an order from the French authorities to leave the country within 30 days. He announced this on his Facebook page.

“I was given 30 days to leave France. I am suing,” Ablyazov wrote.

The ex-banker also posted a video message on his page in which he stated that he had previously received political asylum in France (Le Figaro wrote last December that the refugee status was revoked by the decision of the French court), and now he has neither a visa nor a passport. In addition, Ablyazov said that court hearings against him in France would resume in the near future, and for this time he should not leave the country. The proceedings in a French court on episodes of his abuse of power and money laundering decided to resume at the end of May.

Ablyazov left Kazakhstan in 2009 after his former head of BTA Bank was declared bankrupt and nationalized. First, in Kazakhstan, the ex-banker was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison on the case of creating a criminal community, embezzlement of other people’s property, legalization of proceeds from crime, abuse of power, and was given a life sentence on charges of murdering the former head of the bank, Yerzhan Tatishev .

At the end of 2020, the Tagansky Court of Moscow sentenced Ablyazov in absentia to 15 years in prison in the case of embezzlement of almost 60 billion rubles. In Ukraine, the ex-banker is accused of embezzling $400 million. Kazakhstan does not have an extradition agreement with France, while at the same time, the French side has such an agreement with Russia and Ukraine.

Back in 2015, the then Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, signed the decision to extradite Ablyazov to Russia, but later the State Council of the country cancelled this decision, seeing in the request “the pursuit of political goals.” The Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia then stated that Paris violated the “principle of the inevitability of punishment for crimes committed.”

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