Ablyazov's close associate to remain in detention - report
MOSCOW, October 31 (RAPSI) - Moscow's Tverskoy District Court has extended until February the detention on fraud and money laundering charges of Yelena Tischenko, a close associate of Kazakh billionaire and former chairman of the board of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, Kommersant daily reported Thursday.
According to the newspaper, the detention was extended for five months and nine days.
On October 21, Tischenko was denied parole. The newspaper then reported that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation will not release Tischenko unless she pays $439 million in damages to the bank.
Investigators believe Tischenko was one of the key leaders of a criminal group allegedly organised by Ablyazov. She was thought to be a close confidant of Ablyazov's and coordinated the legalization of stolen property in Russia.
She is charged with conspiracy to commit large scale fraud and money laundering, which investigators say rules out the possibility of bail or house arrest.
As previously reported, surveillance of Tischenko enabled investigators to track the fugitive banker. Private investigators employed by BTA Bank followed Tischenko after she appeared in London during one of a court session over the summer. Media reports referred to Tischenko as Ablyazov's attorney. In court she represented International Petroleum Services Group Limited and denied Ablyazov's involvement with the company.
In August, Russia's Prosecutor General's Office requested that France extradite Ablyazov.
Ablyazov was detained on July 31 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking the extradition of the fugitive banker. Kazakhstan and France do not have an extradition treaty and extradition to Russia may be hindered for procedural reasons, so Ukraine remains the choice destination.
Kazakhstan is seeking the extradition of Ablyazov, who fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. Ablyazov was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011.
In 2009, BTA filed a suit on the alleged embezzlement of $6 billion by its former leadership in the London High Court. In May 2011, the court accepted the bank's complaints against former board chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. In February 2012, it ruled in absentia to detain Ablyazov for 22 months for contempt of court and deprived him of the right to defend his interests.
He maintains that the charges against him are politically motivated.