A fugitive Kazakh oligarch and dissident, who was granted political asylum in the UK before fleeing Britain to avoid a prison sentence, has accused Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev of kidnapping his wife and six-year-old child after they were deported back to central Asia from Italy last week.
Mukhtar Ablyazov, 50, one of the president’s most prominent political opponents, said in a statement on his Facebook page: Nazarbayez “has now switched from political repression to outright terrorist tactics of taking hostages.
“The kidnapping of my family is a demonstration of the vile and despicable nature of Nazarbayev’s regime, which has failed to destroy me as a political opponent and has instead kidnapped my wife and six year old daughter.”
The former banker added that his wife Alma and daughter Alua had been detained by Italian authorities on Wednesday and were put on a private jet to the Kazakh capital of Astana on Friday. They are now thought to be staying with relatives.
Madiyar Ablyazov, the tycoon’s son, told the Guardian it was untrue that his mother had a false African passport and that she had legitimate Latvian documents. He added that he did not know of his father’s whereabouts.
The deportation is the latest in an extraordinary saga involving the former banker and politician, who is being pursued by his former bank, BTA, in London’s high court over allegations that he embezzled $5bn (£3.3bn).
The proceedings took an unusual turn in February 2012 when Ablyazov fled
BTA bank was declared insolvent in 2009 and was nationalised, after defaulting on $12bn of debt owed to the likes of Royal Bank of
Before fleeing, Ablyazov had lived in
Those claims were given credence in July 2011, when Ablyazov won an application for political asylum in