Dropping of legal proceedings against Kazakh opponent Moukhtar Abliazov in France

The proceedings against the Kazakh opponent Moukhtar Abliazov were dropped by the French courts.

An appeal in cassation to come, but a stage victory. On Thursday, the Kazakh oligarch and opponent Mukhtar Abliazov obtained the abandonment of the proceedings for “aggravated breach of trust” and “aggravated money laundering” brought against him in France, due to the prescription of the facts. The former banker is accused by the Kazakh justice of having embezzled 7.5 billion dollars from the BTA bank, of which he was the head until its nationalization in 2009, which earned him a conviction – in his absence – to 20 years in prison in 2017 in Kazakhstan. His lawyer Karim Beylouni was delighted with Thursday’s decision, “after all the hardships he and his family have gone through”: “In a case where fundamental principles such as the independence of justice, the rights of defence, the protection of people against arbitrariness, such as attempts to manipulate justice for political ends, this decision is a very fine victory for the rule of law”, he said in a statement sent at Paris Match.

The French lawyers of the BTA bank, Elena Fedorova, Stéphane Bonifassi and Paul-Albert Iweins, announced to AFP their intention to “immediately file an appeal in cassation” of the abandonment of these indictments pronounced in October 2020 by an investigating judge of the Paris court, under the provision of the French penal code allowing a court to try a foreigner whose extradition has been refused for political reasons, for a crime or misdemeanor committed outside France . The extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov requested by Kazakhstan was refused in 2016 by the Council of State which considered it formulated “for a political purpose”.

Former minister and founder of an opposition party

Since September 2020, the National Court of Asylum has granted refugee status to this 58-year-old oligarch, who lives in Paris and is placed under judicial control. A notorious opponent of former President Noursultan Nazarbayev, for whom he was Minister of Energy, Moukhtar Abliazov is accused by the Kazakh courts of having practically led the BTA bank to bankruptcy, leading to its nationalization. Charges he has always rejected, claiming to be prosecuted for standing up to the former leader who left power in 2019. “I consider it to be the end of the regime, the question is only how long it will take, ”Mukhtar Abliazov said earlier this month, interviewed on AFP about the demonstrations shaking Kazakhstan. “It can last a year but everything can also change in two weeks,” added the man who founded an opposition party called the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan.

In 2015, former chess champion and human rights activist Garry Kasparov returned him to prison in France, after Russia requested his extradition for “fraud” – “a service rendered by the Russian Federation to Kazakhstan”. , summarized the lawyer Jean-Pierre Mignard, who worked on the file -: “How can we take this decision to extradite when Russia has become an outlaw in Europe? It would be putting a political prisoner, a sworn enemy of power, into the hands of an outlaw. It’s like sending him to execution, ”accused the Russian, himself a fierce opponent of Vladimir Putin’s regime. “We are disappointed by France, the country which historically defends human rights, that they are sending my father to Putin’s prisons, founded by Stalin”, had accused his daughter Madina Abliazova.

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