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Grip on Mukhtar Ablyazov: Ukraine to sign EAW agreement

Ukraine has shown some success in common European space and it ready to integrate further. This process is not flawless. Due to the loopholes of the law implementation Ukrainian criminals were able to freely travel to Europe and thus evade the punishment at home. The opposite is also true: Europeans with criminal records or fugitive convicts are entering Ukraine freely. Ukraine is seeking to join the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system. It will implement a logical extension of visa-free travel. Mr. Zelensky plans to discuss the issue with his French counterpart and long-time friend Emmanuel Macron.

Once implemented EAW will allow to extradite every EU criminal from Ukraine. Moreover and perhaps of bigger importance it that Ukraine will finally get hand on own fugitives. Rumours are circulating about the existence of the list of persons wanted in Ukraine that will be passed to the EU. Some of the most wanted criminals are hiding in France. Such is Mukhtar Ablyazov who owes Ukraine a hefty sum and enjoys political asylum in France.

Mukhtar Ablyazov’s case is quite unique. He is wanted for bank fraud and money laundering in countries as different as Ukraine and Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, United Kingdom and Kyrgyzstan. https://www.wsj.com/articles/billions-vanish-in-kazakh-banking-scandal-1388632446 The bank owner, Mukhtar Ablyazov evaded justice and fled to UK. Here he got an asylum based on shake grounds of being in opposition to Nursultan Nazarbayev. He lost the asylum and the respect of the society while attempting to hide the property right for two luxury estates. While still on the wanted list in Great Britain he fled to France. He argued that he can’t stand before the British court because Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, hired killers to deal with him. Mukhtar Ablyazov wasn’t alone: he came with a top manager of his bank Botagoz Jardemalie, the family of ex-mayor of the biggest city in Kazakhstan and other closely related people. Most importantly he came with the full pockets full of money to buy some influence and NGO’s.

Mukhtar Ablyazov
Mukhtar Ablyazov

Initially France was in favour of extradition. It almost happened but the top lawyers and hired PR come of use. He was released from the prison in the French Lyon and granted another right of asylum. All the years Kazakhstan and BTA bank attempted to get the stolen assets back. Some attempts were successful while others not.

Mukhtar Ablyazov’s attempts to show themself as an important political figure isn’t flying high. People don’t buy it. His new party was not registered in Kazakhstan and so his very status is questioned. To support the fading influence Mukhtar Ablyazov resorts to the cheap tricks with the Nazarbayev portrait with word ‘Dictator’ written on it. His very future depends only on the lawyers, NGO and public relation stunts. Well, Kazakhstan can’t get him because he is barely qualified as a politician. But he never was a politician in Ukraine.

If Ukraine will join EAW the country will have to wait until Ablyazov’s asylum right expire. It’s quite likely that Mukhtar Ablyazov will try to apply for asylum in another EU country. Journalists speculated that the next country for Ablyazov’s stay could be Belgium.

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