French appeal court backs extradition for Kazakh oligarch Ablyazov
France’s top appeals court has rejected an appeal against extradition by Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, an opponent of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, opening the way to his being sent to Russia or Ukraine.
The Cour de Cassation on Wednesday rejected Ablyazov’s appeal against an October ruling by a court in central city Lyon in favour of extradition, preferably to Russia.
The latest judgement opens the way for the authorities to prepare the extradition, although it cannot be carried out without a governmental decree, which he could contest at the Council of State.
Russia and Ukraine accuse Ablyazov of embezzling billions when he was head of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank but his lawyers say they are really acting for Nazarbayev, whom they accuse of carrying out a political vendetta against their client.
Ablyazov fled his homeland acter BTA was nationalised and declared bankrupt in 2009.
He went to Britain, where he obtained political asylum, but was later sentenced to 22 months in prison for contempt of court and left for France.
He was arrested at his Riviera villa in July 2013.
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