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AKIPRESS.COM - The trial in absentia of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive banker and Kazakh opposition figure wanted on embezzlement charges by Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine began Friday, court in Almaty said.
"The process began on March 17 at 10.00," a representative of the Almaty inter-district criminal court told AFP by phone.
Ablyazov, a former energy minister and banker in Kazakhstan and his associates are accused of embezzling billions of dollars from BTA bank, once a leading lender in the authoritarian republic.
Ablyazov fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA Bank in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011. However, he remained a fugitive from justice since February 2012.
His whereabouts remained unknown until he was detained on July 31, 2013 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking his extradition.
In October 2015, French authorities approved Ablyazov’x extradition to Russia.
In December 2016, French Conseil d'État, highest administrative government body, overruled prime-minister’s decision to extradite Ablayzov and released the tycoon from jail.