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Swiss drop multi-year Kazakh money laundering investigation

by Reuters
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 14:35 GMT

GENEVA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Swiss prosecutors have dropped an investigation into suspected money laundering in a case involving a former mayor of Kazakhstan's largest city, a spokesman said on Wednesday,

The probe, which stretches back to at least 2013, involved former Almaty Mayor Viktor Khrapunov and his extended family, including a prominent oligarch. Khrapunov has, for at least part of the proceedings, been resident in Switzerland.

"The public prosecutor confirms having issued an order to dismiss (the case), which was communicated to the parties involved on Nov. 14," said a spokesman for the Geneva prosecutor's office.

Parties have until Nov. 25 to appeal.

Khrapunov has always denied the money laundering charges. A Kazakh court sentenced him in October 2018 in absentia to 17 years in prison for embezzlement and corruption, ending local proceedings against him.

Still, the Swiss decision could be a setback for Kazakhstan's pursuit of hundreds of millions of dollars it alleges were stolen by an oligarch with ties to Khrapunov.

Separately, Swiss President Ueli Maurer plans a trip to Kazakhstan on Friday to meet the president and to discuss relations and cooperation.

(Reporting by Emma Farge and Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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