Extradition for banker ‘death sentence’

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The WIFE of a Kazakh banker turned dissident says a decision to extradite him on charges of siphoning off billions of dollars will be a “death sentence”.

The court in France has agreed to extradition requests from Russia and Ukraine, which had branches of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s BTA Bank. Mr Ablyazov’s lawyers said they would appeal.

France has no extradition agreement with Kazakhstan but Russia and the Ukraine do.

Mr Ablyazoz was Kazakhstan’s energy minister but fell-out with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He received political asylum in Britain in 2011 but fled to France before he was convicted of contempt of court.

BTA Bank, now nationalised, says at least $6bn (£3.65bn) is missing. Mr Ablyazov says the allegations are political.

His wife Alma Shalabayeva, agreed. “For my husband, extradition is a death sentence.”

Lawyer Peter Sahlas condemned the decision, saying: “This court wants to send Ablyazov, a refugee, straight to the very people he should be protected from.”