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ECHR orders Russia to pay out €20k for BTA Bank extradition debacle

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or court) held partially in favor of Veronika Yefimova, who claimed that Russia violated her rights in relation to her arrest and detention pending extradition to Kazakhstan, where she faced charges of large-scale embezzlement in connection with her former post at BTA Bank, rapsinews reports from Moscow.

Yefimova served as head of BTA Bank’s corporate business department between 2005 and 2008. The bank was nationalized in 2009 due to financial difficulties.

In March 2009, Kazakh federal prosecutors instituted criminal proceedings against Yefimova and twenty other individuals in connection with the bank’s financial difficulties.

It was alleged that Yefimova had played an active role in the misappropriation of the bank’s assets. She was specifically accused of having registered and approved loan requests for numerous offshore sham companies affiliated with or controlled by the bank’s chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. The funds transferred as a result of this process were never recovered.

Yefimova entered Russia in July 2009 for purposes of seeking medical treatment. She was arrested in the intesive care ward pursuant to a Kazakh extradition request.

She filed a request for asylum in Russia which was dismissed.

At that, she turned to the ECHR, asserting that if extradited to Kazakhstan, she would face violations of the following articles of the European Convention of Human Rights (Convention): Article 3, which protects against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and Article 13, which preserves the right to an effective remedy.

Finding that Yefimova had failed to raise “any individual circumstances which would substantiate her fears of torture or ill-treatment, if extradited, face a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3,” in Kazakhstan, the court held that her extradition would not be in violation of the Convention. Accordingly, the Court refrained from examining Article 13.

Finally, the ECHR held that Russia had violated Article 5 by virtue of its failure to timely process appeals launched by Yefirmova challenging her detention orders, as well as her actual detention between 3 July and 18 November 2009.

Based on these violations, Russia has been ordered to pay Yefirmova €20,000 plus tax and interest within three months of the judgment becoming final.


February 19 2013, 16:11

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