Kazakhstan eyeing Ablyazov’s property
Jan 29. Tengrinews
By Assel Satayeva
Mukhtar Ablyazov might loose his property that is under distraint in Kazakhstan. He doesn’t even have to be extradited to Kazakhstan for this to happen, Tengrinews reports citing the First Deputy Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan Iogan Merkel as saying today.
“Yes, most likely. Why should the government spend money guarding all his property that is under distraint here in Kazakhstan,” Iogan Merkel told the journalists in reply to their question on whether Mukhtar Ablayzov’s assets were going to be seized if Kazakhstan was denied the figurative banker’s extradition.
Earlier this month Mr. Merkel said that the new version of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan is likely to contain a provision allowing confiscation of property without a court verdict. “It will only be used in cases against fugitive criminals and to reverse illegal acquisitions of property” the First Deputy Prosecutor General said.
“Confiscation of property without a court verdict is prescribed by the Article 54 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and we have presented it in our code as it is, without any changes. It will be used only in exceptional situations. It is not going to become a common practice,” Merkel explained.
The new Criminal Code has been widely discussed and is now being reviewed by the Parliament. In fact, the Lower Chamber of the Parliament – the Majilis – has already passed it the first reading today.
When confronted by journalists at the sidelines of the Majilis (Lower Chamber of the Parliament of Kazakhstan), Iogan Merkel shared his opinion on the chances of the ex-banker’s return to his homeland. “Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are guided by the Minsk Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance. But Russia will be able to transfer Ablyazov to Kazakhstan only if France approves it,” the Vice-Prosecutor General said.
On January 9, 2014 the French court of Aix-en-Provence approved the extradition requests for exiled Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov from both Russia and Ukraine, but ruled that Russia’s should take priority. Russia got the priority because Ablyazov had allegedly caused a much greater financial damage to Russia then to Ukraine while he was leading BTA bank that was based in Kazakhstan, but had interests in Russia, Ukraine and other countries.
A week later Mukhtar Ablyazov’s lawyer appealed the French country’s extradition ruling. So Ablyazov, accused of embezzling $6 billion from BTA bank, is still in jail in France, hoping for a turn of tide.
Reportedly Kazakhstan is planning to continue pursuing Mukhtar Ablyazov’s extradition. Kazakhstan is going to negotiate this issue with France.
Ablyazov is wanted in Kazakhstan for embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and siphoning off BTA bank’s funds through dummy companies and illegal financial schemes.