French court rules Kazakh tycoon Ablyazov should be extradited
MOSCOW, March 4 (RAPSI, Vladimir Yaduta) – France's top court approved on Wednesday the extradition to Russia or Ukraine of Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling over $6 billion from BTA Bank, reads a statement released by the bank.
Ablyazov served as the chairman of BTA Bank. He fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA Bank in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011. However, he remained a fugitive from justice since February 2012.
His whereabouts remained unknown until he was detained on July 31, 2013 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking his extradition.
While he has been held in contempt of court in England, civil contempt is not an extraditable offense. Thus the UK is not among the countries seeking his extradition.
The bank has filed 11 separate sets of proceedings in England and Wales seeking to recover upwards of $5 billion – money that the bank claims was fraudulently misappropriated by Ablyazov when he was at the helm.
Specifically, the bank alleges that acting in concert with various other members of the bank’s former leadership, Ablyazov misappropriated funds for his own benefit by use of a network of offshore companies.
A Moscow district court issued an arrest warrant for Ablyazov in absentia in October 2010 at the Russian Interior Ministry's request on charge of large-scale fraud.