The Ablyazov files revisited: French, American politicians against justice
It looks like a matryoshka: a scandal within a scandal within a scandal within a scandal. And the number of puppets continues to increase. While in England, the cash-stripped former BTA bank, which now has dragged its former rival and new owner Kazkommertsbank along into the abyss, the legal quest to recuperate the stolen billions on the account of banker-gangster Mukhtar Ablyazov looks completely stuck in the mud, the culprit, now high and dry abiding in France under government protection, is bound to continue wiping out traces of the funds’ disappearance tracks and preparing a “mafia revolution” in Kazakhstan after the example of Kyrgyzstan’s 2005 coup.
A search among the French mainstream news media would deliver nothing, and it appears that they deliberately ignored the event. Yet, it happened. “In Paris, near the building of the Council of State, a demonstration was held last week on 28 and 29 September against the policy of double standards towards international fugitives,” a report posted on October 2 by the Brussels-based EU Reporter [https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2017/10/02/demonstration-in-paris-against-international-fugitives/] was to read. “Around 20-30 people had gathered to protest against the practice of granting asylum in France to foreign citizens accused of fraud and economic crimes on an international scale. In particular, protesters were concerned about what they feel is a policy of double standards in France. Despite common obligations and established legal practice, some convicted criminals who are on international wanted lists and satisfy the conditions and procedures for their extradition, are nevertheless released due to politically motivated decisions and despite existing judgements by the courts and judicial authorities. The participants at the demonstration chanted: ‘No to scammers’, ‘extradite scammers’, ‘extradite Kuznetsov’, ‘extradite Ablyazov’, /no negotiations with thieves’, ‘France does not participate in international crime’.”
But it does. Not only is it protecting a Russian ex-minister with very deep pockets and a Kazakh corporate thief (a banker who for a while also used to be a highly abusive cabinet minister) having stolen (as recognised by courts of law in England and France in the highest possible resort) in the order of 10 billion greenbacks from the bank he used to control, but also someone who claimed shortly after his liberation from prison in France that he had “financed” the so-called Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, in reality a coup led by local crime syndicates who looked for a puppet government in place serving their interests and ignoring their murders and other misdeeds. That government would last for five years, until it was ousted by loyalist forces. Whether Ablyazov’s claim is true or not, he also claims that the 2005 coup was a rehearsal for what he now plans to do in Kazakhstan through a number of terrorist acts and “demonstrations” in Almaty and Astana by hired barricade fodder recruited from poor neighbourhoods and villages in the country.
From day one on during the extradition proceedings, in particular the French magistrate Solange Legras, who acted in the case on behalf of the Prosecution, openly dismissed Ablyazov’s “political” displays, calling him “just a scoundrel” In mid-December, after having attended public hearings on the extradition case at the court of Aix-en-Provence, a report by a Reuters correspondent visiting the place on the occasion [http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/12/us-france-ablyazov-idUSBRE9BB13E20131212] quoted the prosecutor as saying: “When you have so much money, you can buy everything. But you cannot buy the French justice system. You will have to submit to its rules.”
But that was not where the initial bad news for Ablyazov ended: rather than Ukraine where the culprit hopes to find help of friends in high places, preference went to the Russian Federation. “The court favoured extradition to Russia because it had suffered a greater financial loss, at $5 billion, rather than Ukraine, which lost $400 million, as a result of Ablyazov’s alleged embezzlement,” Solange Legras said in Reuters’ words. “The budget of the French justice system is less than the sum diverted by Mr. Ablyazov from the Russian Federation alone.” The news report further quotes Solange Legras as stating that “…both Kiev and Moscow [are] bound by the Geneva Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights which barred returning a political refugee to his home country, or transferring him to a third country without the agreement of the extraditing power, in this case France. “It is easy to be an opponent to hide one’s true nature as a fraudster,” the report quoted her as observing.
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Charles van der Leeuw
FUGITIVE LONG-FINGERED GENTRY FROM THE PLAINS
The story of Mukhtar Ablyazov, one-time major shareholder and chief executive of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank, tells how well over 10 billion US dollar is supposed to have been reaped through his network of close to 800 fake companies.
What happened later resembled a spy novel. Solange’s e-mail and smartphone message syste were hacked, and excerpts were later posted by a Ukrainian website in which the long arm of Ablyazov and helpers could easily be identified. Legras later filed charges “against X” for infringement of judicial confidentiality, making it clear who in their view X is supposed to be, especially after the siphoned communications were posted on the Ukrainian website belonging to a would-be “humanitarian” organisation. In response, Ablyazov’s lawyers filed suits for alleged “trafic d’influence”, “association de malfaiteurs” and “forfaiture” against the two magistrates. Bad news for the lawyers: following the siphoning’s exposure in December last year, meanwhile Ukrainian police seized the website under question and found out that the stolen communications were originally genuine but had been “modified and falsified” before being posted.
Central in the Ukrainian connections in the Ablyazov files stands the name of Igor Kolomoisky, Ukraine’s second-richest tycoon and hawkish anti-federalist campaigner, following the violent takeover of power by the current regime appointed governor of the Dnepropetrovsk province. Kolomoisky reputedly has his own “private army” consisting of mercenaries, originating, among other sources, of soldiers of Fortune sent by America’s paramilitary mobster enterprise Blackwater Corporation. His militiamen have been responsible for the mass murder in Odessa last winter, and subsequent bloodshed in following clashes between “revolutionary” paramilitary forces.
Kolomoisky also happens to own the country’s largest bank, Privat Bank, which is still in the process of being bailed out for the equivalent of roughly a billion US dollar, following schemes during the previous decade which look like the spitting image of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s fund and asset diversions at the time he was at the helm of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank. Only this time, it is not the government bailing out the faltering bank, but the international Monetary Fund.
According to available information, the money “lost” on non-repaid loans at the time include part of those funneled away through Privat Bank by Mukhtar Ablyazov. Despite such circumstances which could imply the possibility of a power struggle between centrist and rightist groups in Ukraine, Roman Marchenko, dubbed by the Wall Street Journal “an outside lawyer for the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office seeking Mr. Ablyazov”, was quoted by the paper as stating that “nothing has been changed” regarding the extradition. “The present government continues to support the prosecution of Mr. Ablyazov in Ukraine and his extradition,” the article quoted him as declaring.
The government of France, though, did not – nor did it respect the country’s very own course of justice. Instead, it used its power to dismiss the High Court’s ruling without specific reasons given, except for echoing Ablyazov’s empty slogans like “political persecution” as an excuse. Worse: in July this year, Interpol (which also happens to have its headquarters near Lyon, the area where Ablyazov has been held and tried) removed the culprit from its international wanted list, also citing the usual clichés as a reason to do so. It now looks like France, along with an increasing number of international institutions considered to be unbiased in regard to politics, are all but blindly obeying the orders from the CIA and the Pentagon whenever there is a chance to harm former Soviet republics who have not joined their “coloured revolution” policies in the former USSR with the aim to subdue them to the American military and industrial usurpation machinery…