Kazakh Banker Ablyazov Sees Family in ‘Great Danger’

Former BTA Bank JSC Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov thanked Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta for revoking the expulsion of his wife, Alma Shalabayeva, while saying his family is in “great danger.”

Ablyazov said he fears Kazakhstan won’t let his family leave the country and will instead jail his wife, according to a statement to Italian daily La Stampa. Letta’s office yesterday revoked the expulsion of Shalabayeva after reviewing her case.

The Italian government said it also asked the head of police to probe why it wasn’t properly informed of her expulsion. Shalabayeva and Ablyazov’s 6-year-old daughter, Alua, were deported to Kazakhstan from Italy on June 1, sparking a protest by Italian lawmakers and human rights associations over the treatment of what they called the family of a Kazakh dissident.

Kazakh prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for Ablyazov in March 2009 on suspicion he embezzled money from BTA and laundered it through loans to fictitious companies. Ablyazov has denied the accusations, saying the lawsuits against him are politically motivated.

Shalabayeva is not under house arrest, while she can’t leave the country because she’s under probe, Italian news agency Ansa cited the Kazakh government as saying.

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