Court overturns ex-banker's extradition to Russia

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Associated Press

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 5:30 AM

PARIS (AP) — A lawyer for a former banker-turned-dissident in Kazakhstan says a French court has overturned a ruling allowing him to be extradited.

Russia and Ukraine sought Mukhtar Ablyazov on allegations he siphoned off billions from the bank he once led. A judge in southern France, where the former head of BTA Bank was detained last summer, approved his extradition in January.

Peter Sahlas, his lawyer, said an appeals court overturned that decision Wednesday. Sahlas said Ablyazov, jailed since he was seized by French special forces, would request to be freed while his extradition case goes to review.

Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France. But Ablyazov's family and lawyers say they fear he will ultimately be returned to his homeland via Russia or Ukraine, which do have extradition deals with Kazakhstan.

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