Lawyers for Mukhtar Ablyazov, a Kazakh banker turned dissident who is accused of embezzling billions of dollars, said Monday they would appeal a French decree that authorises his extradition to Russia.
Ablyazov's legal saga began in 2001 and spans several countries, most recently France where he was arrested more than two years ago. He has fought extradition to Russia, which claims its citizens were defrauded in the collapse of the now-nationalised bank, BTA.
His lawyers on Monday disclosed France's extradition order and promised an appeal to the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court. If that fails, another appeal could be lodged with the European Court of Human Rights.
Ablyazov, a former Kazakh energy minister, turned against longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2001 and founded an opposition party. His lawyers say they fear Russia will hand him over to Nazarbayev.
In a statement released on Monday, his family said Ablyazov faced torture and a "dreadful fate" if he was extradited and then sent to Kazakhstan.
France does not have an extradition treaty with Kazakhstan but it does with Russia, which enjoys close ties with Nazarbayev's regime.
When Ablyazov was arrested on the French Riviera in July 2013, he had been in hiding since a British judge sentenced him to prison in 2012 for contempt of court.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2015-10-12