Kazakhstan General Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that the ex-banker of Kazakhstan's BTA bank Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested in France yesterday, the office’s website writes.
“French Interpol bureau informed us of apprehension of Mukhtar Ablyazov at the territory of France on July 31. No detailed information has been provided to us by the French colleagues yet. Kazakhstan General Prosecutor’s Office will provide further details once we receive them,” the website writes.
The exile tycoon was tracked by private detectives, Kommersant writes. According to the newspaper, private detectives from Israeli agency Gadot hired by Kazakhstan authorities found Ablyazov’s whereabouts in Italy almost two months ago, but he managed to flee that time leaving behind his wife and daughter. “According to an unnamed source, the private detectives were the ones who found Mr Ablyazov in France as well, tracking him down through the phone calls he made to his wife and her lawyers,” Kommersant writes.
Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested not far from Cannes. An official representative of the Regional Service of France’s judicial police in Marseille also confirmed that the exile Kazakhstan tycoon was arrested. According to him, Ablyazov was arrested on July 31 in Mouans-Sartoux not far from Grasse.
The official said that French authorities received the extradition request from Ukraine. He added that the Kazakh ex-banker would most likely be transferred to Paris where the court will decide on his extradition.
Ablyazov is wanted in Kazakhstan for embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and siphoning off BTA bank's funds through dummy companies and illegal financial schemes. BTA bank is pursuing Mr Ablyazov in London’s court for misappropriation of at least $6bn from the bank. FT called this case "one of the biggest and most complex fraud cases in banking history".
“The affairs of Mukhtar Ablyazov and his accomplices are also subject to criminal investigations by law-enforcement authorities of Cyprus, Hungary and Latvia. The authorities of Ireland and Finland are checking into activities of the companies affiliated with Ablyazov,” the prosecutors write. Russia also initiated a criminal case against Ablyazov and put him on the wanted list.