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French court okays extradition of Kazakh oligarch Ablyazov

Ablyazov's wife, Alma Shalabayeva (R), and daughter, Madina, in Rome last month on their return after being expelled due to the fraud accusations
Ablyazov's wife, Alma Shalabayeva (R), and daughter, Madina, in Rome last month on their return after being expelled due to the fraud accusations Reuters/Max Rossi
1 min

A French court has given the go-ahead for the extraditon of Kazakh banker and former minister Mukhtar Ablyazov, who claims he is being hounded by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev for political reasons.

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After considering a double demand from Ukraine and Russia, a court in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence ruled in favour of extradition, with a preference that he should be sent to Russia.

Ablyazov's lawyer, Olivier Quesneau, said he would appeal against the judgement, meaning that the extradition will be suspended.

Ablyazov has been in detention since 31 July when he was arrested at his home near Cannes, on the French riviera.

He is accused of embezzling up to 4.5 billion euros from the Kazakh bank BTA, which he ran until 2009 when it was nationalised.

He claims the accusation is part of a political vendetta and that Russia and Ukraine are acting for Nazarbayev, since France has no extradition treaty with Kazakhstan.

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