Shalabayeva’s deportation will not shaken relations between Kazakhstan and Italy: Ministry

July 24. Tengrinews

Shalabayeva's deportation will not shaken relations between Kazakhstan and Italy: MinistryThe recent deportation of the wife of former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov from Italy to Kazakhstan will not spoil the relations between Kazakhstan and Italy, reports citing Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry’s statement published on the website of the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

“The relations between two two countries have been tested by time. We have the relations that are over 20 years old. We have active and successful connections in all areas ranging from economic to political ones,” the Ministry writes. “Kazakhstan does not believe that deportation of one of its citizens who violated passport and visa regimes (or revoking of the deportation order) is a good reason to shaken the bilateral relations.”

After deportation of Ablyazov’s wife Alma Shalabayeva and their daughter to Kazakhstan, two Italian parties expressed outrage to Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and the Ministry’s Chief of Staff Giuseppe Procaccini resigned. Some of the media outlets reported that Italy was thinking about expelling Kazakhstan Ambassador to Rome Andrian Yelemessov over the incident.

On May 31 Alma Shalabayeva and her daughter Alua were deported by the Italian authorities for illegal stay in Italy with fake Central African passports and one and half months later the Italian authorities suddenly decided to reverse their deportation order. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan authorities noted that Shalabayeva could go back to Italy.

In February 2012 London’s High Court sentenced Ablyazov to 22 months in jail for contempt of court for lying about his assets and violating the court’s freezing order issued in 2009. Ablyazov is now wanted by the law-enforcement authorities but his whereabouts are unclear. In November 2012 the London court ruled out to freeze his assets. It was reported later that Ablyazov fled to France, while the Italian authorities put him on the wanted in the beginning of July

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Kazakh ambassador denies pushing Italy to deport dissident’s wife

Jul 24. Reuters. ROME

Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Rome on Wednesday denied his government had pressured the Italian interior minister to deport the wife and daughter of a dissident oligarch in a case that threatened to bring down the fragile coalition government.

Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old daughter were hurriedly deported from Rome in May and flown by private plane to Kazakhstan, an unusually swift deportation that caused a furore over accusations that it was a favour to the leader of the energy-rich country, President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The government later revoked the expulsion, saying it was abnormal, and severely criticised senior officials who were involved.

The incident has strained relations between the two countries, which have significant economic ties, especially in the energy sector. Italian oil giant Eni has pumped billions of dollars into large Kazakh oil and gas projects.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano survived an opposition confidence vote last week after officials managed to contain anger in the centre-left Democratic Party of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who leads an uneasy coalition with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party.

Alfano, Berlusconi’s protege, is secretary of the PDL.

Shalabayeva’s husband is Muktar Ablyazov, a former energy minister turned bitter critic of Nazarbayev. He fled Kazakhstan in 2009 after his bank BTA was declared insolvent and nationalised. His whereabouts are unknown.

Asked whether he had pressured Alfano or other politicians to deport the two, ambassador Andrian Yelemessov said in an interview with the daily Il Giornale:

“Absolutely not. I never saw the minister.”

He added he had merely passed on Interpol documents about wanted persons to the Interior Ministry.

Alfano, who said he had never been informed of the deportation, ordered a shake-up of his ministry and the police following the scandal. His chief of staff was forced to resign.