With the tenth anniversary of his flight from the authorities in his homeland of Kazakhstan fast approaching, the raft of transnational court cases involving fugitive embezzler Mukhtar Ablyazov shows no sign of abating. In a global saga that stretches from an institutional aversion to tackling kleptocracy in the United Kingdom to the United States President Donald Trump’s shady business partners, the murky world of Mukhtar Ablyazov even led his family to make a pit stop in the Central African Republic to pick up diplomatic passports. Yet despite having judgments against him totaling $4.9 billion in the British courts alone, almost six years since he fled from the UK to avoid three concurrent 22-month sentences for contempt of court, Ablyazov remains a free man. So who is this criminal mastermind, a man found to have committed ‘fraud on an epic scale’ in the UK and sentenced in absentia in his homeland of having ordered the assassination of his erstwhile business partner? A country boy turned kleptocrat, current estimates as to the total amount embezzled by Ablyazov stand at in excess of $10 billion, yet from his villa in France, Ablyazov continues to bemoan his plight to be a simple case of ‘political persecution.’ This is an argument supported by parties such as the NGO, the Open Dialog Foundation, whose activities, a report from a conference held in the European Parliament in November 2017 found, are funded by companies ‘flagged and sanctioned by the West.’
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