Kazakh tycoon to fight extradition decree -family

by Reuters
Monday, 12 October 2015 12:10 GMT

PARIS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - France has signed a decree authorising the extradition to Russia of jailed Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov, Ablyazov's family said on Monday, adding that the businessman accused of embezzling up to $6 billion from his former bank BTA would lodge an appeal.

The signing of the decree by Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sept. 17 was notified to Ablyazov last week at the prison where he is being held outside Paris.

In a statement, his family said Ablyazov faced torture and a "dreadful fate" if he was extradited and then sent to Kazakhstan.

He would submit an appeal against the government decree to the Council of State, France's highest administrative court. If that failed, another appeal which could also suspend execution of the extradition order, could be lodged with the European Court of Human Rights, his family said.

Ablyazov, arrested near the Riviera resort of Cannes in 2013, has denied accusations that he embezzled billions from BTA in which he held a majority stake. The bank was eventually seized by Kazakh authorities and declared insolvent in 2009.

"Paris is ... pretending it believes that Ablyazov could get a fair trial in Russia, that he would not be tortured or re-extradited to Kazakhstan, where a dreadful fate awaits him," said the statement.

France does not have an extradition treaty with Kazakhstan but it does with Russia.

Ablyazov's lawyers say Russia could pass him on to Kazakhstan, where they say he would be persecuted for being an opponent of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

When Ablyazov was arrested in July 2013, he had been in hiding since being sentenced to prison for contempt of court by an English judge in 2012. (Reporting by Chine Labbe; writing by Brian Love; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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