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Exiled Kazakh Banker Says He Wants To Topple Nazarbaev's Regime

Kazakh opposition figure and oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, center, poses with his son Madiya and his brother-in-law after being released from the Fleury-Merogis jail, in Fleury-Merogis, near Paris, on December 9.

An exiled Kazakh opposition figure who has just been released from custody in France says he is aiming to topple the government of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev within the next three years.

Tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov told the French AFP news agency on December 15 that he will base himself in Paris to plot the downfall of Nazarbaev’s regime.

Ablyazov said he also wants to bring "economic reforms" to Kazakhstan, which has been ruled by Nazarbaev for 27 years.

Ablyazov was released from a French jail on December 9 after France's highest administrative court cancelled an order for his extradition to Russia, saying the extradition request was made for political reasons.

Ablyazov, the former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on allegations of embezzling some $5 billion.

Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General's Office said on December 14 that it will continue efforts to prosecute Ablyazov, who is charged with embezzlement, organizing a criminal group, illegally obtaining other people's property, financial mishandling, money laundering, and abuse of office.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

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