AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France – A French court has ordered the extradition of a Kazakh banker turned dissident who is accused of siphoning off billions of dollars before fleeing his homeland.
The court in Aix-en-Provence agreed Thursday to extradition requests from Russia and Ukraine, which had branches of Mukhtar Ablyazov's BTA Bank. Ablyazov's lawyers said they would appeal immediately.
France has no extradition agreement with Kazakhstan.
Ablyazoz was once Kazakhstan's energy minister but turned against longtime President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Freed from prison in Kazakhstan, Ablyazov received political asylum in Britain in 2011 but fled from there days before he was convicted of contempt of court. He was detained in France in July.
BTA Bank, now nationalized, says at least $6 billion is missing and accuses Ablyazov of misappropriating the money. Ablyazov calls the allegations political.