Lawyers for Mukhtar Ablyazov, an avowed opponent of Kazakhstan’s government, are appealing a French court ruling that the former banker be extradited either to Russia or Ukraine, French media reported Wednesday.
Ablyazov, who is suspected of crimes ranging from embezzlement to money laundering, is sought by authorities in his home country, Kazakhstan, as well as Russia and Ukraine.
In addition, the activities of Ablyazov and his associates is the subject of a criminal investigation of law enforcement agencies in Cyprus, Hungary and Latvia.
A French court in January approved extradition requests from Russia and Ukraine, but said Russia's application should take priority. Ablyazov, who was arrested in France in July, stands accused of embezzling $5 billion in Russia and $400 million in Ukraine.
Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France.
The fugitive former chairman of the BTA Bank and his supporters maintain the charges against him are politically motivated, as he is considered a rival to Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Ablyazov’s defense team insists their client faces re-extradition from Russia or Ukraine onward to Kazakhstan, where they say he could face persecution or even death.
BTA was Kazakhstan’s biggest bank before it defaulted on $12 billion of debt and was taken over by the government in 2009. Control of the bank passed to the sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
Ablyazov left for Britain and was granted political asylum in 2011. He fled the country one year later, when a High Court judge in London sentenced him to 22 months in prison for contempt of court.
BTA has filed 11 law suits in London accusing its former top management of embezzling $6 billion.
The High Court ordered Ablyazov to pay $400 million in damages to BTA in November after ruling that the bank had been defrauded of $300 million in a case relating to a portfolio of AAA-rated securities.
But the main goal is not for the country to put the offender , and although this is right. More important thing - to return at least part of the stolen money . Therefore, at the international level all actively playing it against Ablyazov BTA Bank, the same bank , including its creditors and investors who have suffered from the actions of the perpetrator. And no political motivation here is not. And this is proved by the court of London, who sentenced Ablyazova almost to two years imprisonment in the case of the oligarch.
Ablyazov but continues to assert that he is being persecuted for political beliefs.
In France, as well as once in Albion, attorneys try again to tighten the case. Privacy Mukhtar Ablyazov cassation appeal against the court's decision.
However, representatives of the BTA - Bank believe that much progress. Decision to extradite tycoon facilitate the return of stolen them from BTA - Bank assets.
World media monitoring