Austrian Themis Faces Legal Precedent

Austrian Themis Faces Legal Precedent

By Alina Kantor

For the first time for more than 20 years the court of this country is ready to decide whether to extradite or put into jail a citizen of the Post-Soviet state under the accusations imposed in his motherland. And this is considering that right after his arrival in Vienna a former Kazakh (following the tradition) announced himself to be the “prisoner of conscience” and fighter for democracy. The case is about ex-Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria Rakhat Aliyev.


Recently the Supreme Land Court of Vienna has confirmed the relevancy of the accusations in relation to the former Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria Rakhat Aliyev. The court decided that the results of independent investigations of Vienna prosecutor’s office have enforced the suspicions over the guilt of Aliyev. Kazakhstani prosecutors accuse him of kidnapping, torturing and murder of two managers of “Nurbank” in 2007. The corpses of Zholdas Timraliyev and Aibar Khasenov were found in 2011. The expertise defined that they had been tortured. Except for that, in Kazakhstan Aliyev is blamed also in the number of crimes, including money laundering and corruption.


Last several crimes have become an impulse for development of the whole story. The case is that Aliyev obtained residence permit in Austria also not quite legally – simply with a bribe. The same it was suspected that the primary refusal of Vienna to extradite Aliyev to Kazakhstani authorities and recognition of accusations against him to be “politically motivated” – was also the result of bribes.


Although, it’s worth to acknowledge that in the given situation Austria has been trapped into its own legal “fork”: there is a principle in the country – extradite or judge. After refusal from extradition Austria was forced to deal with the investigation on its own. And it found out many interesting facts about itself.


In course of long-standing trial disputes between Astana and Vienna it turned out that Austria has become a perfect channel for laundering of millions USD withdrawn from Kazakhstan. According to the investigation (by this the case is already about the investigation, held by Austria) the ex-Ambassador of Kazakhstan was transferring of money from Kazakhstan to Europe, using Austria as a mediator within financial operation. “Only to Austria they transferred the amount of 113 million Euro. From our point of view Austria was a “laundering machine” for the money, which Aliyev transferred from Kazakhstan to Switzerland, Malta, Germany and Near East. This is only the money, about we, lawyers, have managed to find out.” – declared recently Vienna lawyer PhD Gabriel Lanski, who represents the interests of the widows of murdered managers of Nurbank Zholdas Timraliyev and Aibar Khasenov.


It’s worth to note that not only Austrian Themis turned out to be involved into the case of Aliyev. The authorities of Germany have become interested in the deals of Aliyev, particularly in his purchasing of the metallurgic company “Metallwerke Bender Rheinland” GmbH. They suspect that Aliyev was not going to modernize the company, but purchased it to launder money, as well as for illegal trade with CO2 emissions certificates. They also stated even the amount – almost 9.5 million Euro that went through the purchased company. According to the prosecutors, all money laundering deals refer to the period between 2005 and 2007, when Aliyev lived in Austria and was the Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Vienna. 


However, Austrian court recognized only a part of accusations against Aliyev, which were imposed by Kazakhstan. Treason, raidings and corruption are not yet of interest for Vienna. In fact, Germany and Austria today, acknowledging the criminal coloring of accusations against the ex-Ambassador of Kazakhstan, save their own reputation. It’s quite unpleasant to become such an “offshore zone” having the image of fighter for legitimacy.


Except for that, Aliyev is accused of tortures. “This person is a demonstrative example of accumulation of various pathologies, - described Aliyev doctor Gabriel Lanksi. The combination of wrong interpretation of his power, its level, its scope. Connected simultaneously with itch money, is revealed in property crimes performed. In combination with purely human, physical aggression, sexual which is probably related to his medical education and work as a doctor”. And this is already a crime against humanity. Refusal from acknowledgment of such crimes is not also beneficial for Austria and Germany, as the events of the mid past century are yet vivid in memory. Although, naturally no one recognizes this version officially.


But the fact remains to be the fact – Vienna is not only ready to recognize Aliyev guilty in the accusations imposed by Kazakhstani prosecutors (adding their portion), but it also has created a precedent. The Court of Vienna has doubted the declaration of Aliyev about “political persecution of him” as a fighter for democracy. This has become the first case when a Kazakh blamed in crimes in his mother country was refused of recognition of political motivation of his persecution. And for the first time, when the lawyers of Austria agreed fully with the imposed accusations.


Not long before the adoption of this indeed historical decision by the Supreme Land Court of Vienna Rakhat Aliyev, or as he is named now Rakhat Shoraz (following the family name of his second wife) made a statement (personally and through his lawyers), that he is ready to face Austrian justice on murder accusation. It was declared that he is ready to come from Malta to Vienna any time to attend trials. Even considering that according to Austrian laws for the proved crimes he can get life sentence, meanwhile in Kazakhstan Aliyev is sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment.


Today the lawyers of the injured party declare that most likely Aliyev shall be imprisoned exactly in Austria.


The case of Kazakhstani escaped official, ex-Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria has become the biggest ever to be considered by the justice of Austria. The chain of crimes, which started to be checked by Austria lawyers has led to clearance of the number of contriving schemes and corruption scandals in the number of European states: Germany, Austria, Malta, Cyprus. And judging by all, this is far not the end of the story.


Anyway the case against Aliyev has become the first case – for the first time an escaped official from post-soviet area has faced a real threat of criminal liability outside the motherland. And traditionally cover of the ideals of democracy this time has not worked out. 






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