Kazakh banker's wife urges France not to send him to Russia

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — The wife of a Kazakh banker-turned-dissident accused of embezzling billions urged French authorities to block his pending extradition to Russia.

Mukhtar Ablyazov, a former Kazakh energy minister who founded an opposition party, is accused of stealing billions from a bank he founded, BTA. He was arrested in France more than two years ago and is fighting extradition to Russia, which claims its citizens were defrauded in the collapse of the now-nationalized bank.

Ablyazov's wife, Alma Shabalayeva, told a press conference Wednesday that her husband would not get a fair trial in Russia.

Ablyazov's lawyers have asked France's Council of State to block his extradition, fearing that he would quickly be handed over to Kazakhstan.

Shabalayeva said "he doesn't have any chance to survive" in Kazakhstan.