Russian and Ukrainian representatives to attend Ablyazov’s trial in France

June 05. Tengrinews

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

Russian and Ukrainian representatives to attend Ablyazov's trial in FranceRussian and Ukrainian representatives will be able to attend the court hearings in Lyon involving the former head of Kazakhstani BTA bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, Tengrinews reports citing RIA Novosti. The arraignment chamber of the Court of Appeal in French Lyon considered the case on Tuesday, June 3.

In its decision the Court of Appeal in Lyon said that although the representatives of Russia and Ukraine were allowed to take the floor at the hearing, they would not have access to the investigative files and would not have the right to add any materials.

Russia accuses Ablyazov of embezzling $5 billion, while Ukraine holds him responsible for embezzling $400 million. Both the Russians and the Ukrainians seek extradition of the disgraced Kazakh billionaire, who was arrested in France in July 2013. He is now awaiting trial in Lyon.

His hearings were originally scheduled for June 12. However, they are now postponed and will take place no earlier than in September.

Ablyazov has already lost one extradition trial in France earlier this year. But in April the Cour de Cassation ruled against the previous decision in favour of the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov made by another French court this January where the judge approved the extradition requests from both Russia and Ukraine but ruled that Russia’s should take priority as the sum allegedly embezzled was far greater than that alleged by Ukrainian authorities.

The extradition of Ablyazov is also demanded by Kazakhstan, but the country has not extradition agreement with France, so there will be no representatives of Kazakhstan participating in the hearing.

Back on his home soil Ablyazov is accused of embezzling $6 billion from BTA he used to lead. He is now facing 13 years of imprisonment and property confiscation in Kazakhstan which he fled in 2009.