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Rakhat Aliyev stripped of Austrian passport

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Viennese prosecutors tell European counterparts that Kazakh exile was ‘deprived’ of Austrian aliens’ passport in April 2013.

The former son-in-law of Kazakh long-ruling president Nursultan Nazarbayev - Rakhat Aliyev - has had his Austrian passport repealed, documents seen by MaltaToday show.

The documents, which include correspondence between an Austrian law enforcement agency in Vienna and another EU member state, state in no uncertain terms that the Kazakh exile was "deprived of an aliens' passport by a decision of the Austrian ministry for the interior, dated 2 April 2013".

The request for information came after a suspicious financial transaction raised the alarm in the member state concerned, the documents show.

Aliyev, 51, has lived in Malta since 2010, availing himself of the right to move freely across the eurozone through his marriage to a naturalized Austrian citizen, Elnara Shorazova. He lives in Malta under the assumed surname of Shoraz.

But he is also being investigated by Austrian and German law enforcement agencies over charges of murder and money laundering amongst other accusations - charges he denies.

In the documents that MaltaToday was shown, a criminal investigation department in Vienna informs its counterparts in another EU member state - not Malta - that Aliyev was deprived of his aliens' passport in April 2013, and that the document was now "invalid".

The documentation also gives a breakdown of current money laundering investigations being carried out by the Viennese investigators.

MaltaToday has also seen a June 2013 decision of an Austrian ombudsman - the Volksanwaltschaft - that found that the issuance of this passport in 2009, was "the subject of maladministration by the federal ministry of the interior."

MaltaToday has not established whether Aliyev is in possession of either a Kazakh passport, or another form of citizenship, and it is not being suggested that his stay in Malta is unlawful.

Sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment in absentia by a Kazakh court over the murder of two bankers in 2008, Aliyev was stripped of his diplomatic immunity during his time as an ambassador to the OSCE in Vienna. But Austria refused to extradite him to Kazakhstan, where he cannot be guaranteed a fair trial, and instead opened its own investigation in the Nurbank murders.

Only last week, two Kazakhi nationals requested that the police investigate their accusations of torture against Aliyev. But despite repeated requests, the Maltese police have so far refused to investigate complaints by former bodyguards Satzhev Ibraev and Pyotr Afanasenko. The two men claim they were tortured on order of Aliyev in 2001, and personally beaten by him, to extract a false confession that their boss, former prime minister Akezhan Kazageldin, was plotting a coup against Aliyev's father-in-law, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Aliyev - a surgeon who married Nazarbayev's daughter to become a powerful media tycoon and deputy chief of the Kazakh secret service - denies the allegations of torture, claiming the two bodyguards are being forced to run "a systematic smear campaign" against him to avert their own persecution.

Aliyev claims that Kazakh secret agents are in Malta to monitor his movements, and possibly kill him and his family. "The Kazakh secret service has long been trying to influence the Maltese courts, the Attorney General and the police force," he said, although the multimillionaire exile has found little hindrance in obtaining passage to Malta.

The two bodyguards have since filed a new complaint, on 27 May, asking Commissioner of Police Peter Paul Zammit to investigate their torture complaint, as laid down in Article 139A of the Criminal Code, which deals with any acts of torture, including those "for the purpose of obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession".

In 2010, an Interpol warning was shrugged off when he obtained permanent residence - his then lawyer, Pio Vassallo, charged him an exorbitant €150,000 fee for this service alone, before the two men fell out and filed lawsuits against each other.

Under former police commissioner John Rizzo, four complaints to have the torture allegations investigated were not taken up, and the Attorney General has backed up the police so far.

Malta Today

November 12 2013, 11:55

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