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French court blocks Kazakh oligarch's extradition

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev with Russia's Vladimir Putin
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev with Russia's Vladimir Putin Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

A French court has blocked the extradition of exiled Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, who was arrested at his French Riviera villa in July. Ablyazov is an opponent of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Ablyazov, who was at one time the Kazakh BTA Bank, is wanted on embezzlement charges by Russia and Ukraine, although he claims that they are acting for Nazarbayev for political reasons.

The cassation court ruled against a decision in December by an appeals court in favour of the extradition.

Last month Guillaume-Denis Faure, the lawyer who was engaged to act for Ukraine by the now-deposed government of Viktor Yanukoviych, found that some of his SMSes, emails and excerpts from voicemail had been published by a Ukrainian website, trust.ua, according to Le Nouvel Observateur magazine.

Suspecting that Ablyazov of might be behind the leaks, he has taken legal action to find out who was hacking his phone.

Ablyazov's lawyer, Peter Sahlas, rejected the accusation and claimed that the Russian, Ukrainian or Kazakh secret services could be responsible.

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