MOSCOW, February 24 (RAPSI) - Investigators have filed a motion seeking to extend until May 31 the detention of nationalist Alexander Belov (Potkin), accused of laundering money embezzled from BTA Bank, spokesperson for Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court Yevgeniya Potapkina told RAPSI on Tuesday.
The court will consider the investigators’ motion on February 26, according to Potapkina.
On October 15, 2014, Belov was arrested at Hotel Intourist Kolomenskoe in Moscow. The court initially placed Belov under house arrest, but later sent him in pre-trial detention. Investigators filed a motion to detain Belov alleging that he could flee Russia or try to destroy evidence. Attorneys asked the court to release Belov on 5-million rubles bail ($81,000).
Investigators believe that Belov (Potkin) was involved in laundering money embezzled from BTA Bank by its former chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. Ablyazov who allegedly defrauded BTA Bank for more than $6 billion left Kazakhstan for the UK where he was granted political asylum in 2011.
Attorneys claim the criminal prosecution of Belov is politically motivated.
The Kazakh government acquired in 2009 a stake in defaulted BTA Bank, which came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. Ablyazov was on the run for more than a year after he had been sentenced by a London court to 22 months in jail for contempt.
Ablyazov was arrested in July 2013 in France. Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine are seeking his extradition. Last January a court in Aix-en-Provence gave priority to the application filed by Russia where a criminal case was opened against banker. However, in April a French appeals court blocked the extradition of Ablyazov due to procedural error. The cassation court ordered the case to be heard again, assigning it to a court in Lyon. On October 24, the court ruled to extradite Ablyazov to Russia.