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Kazakh dissident's wife free to leave Kazakhstan

Alma Shalabayeva and daughter deported from Italy in May

24 December, 11:29
Kazakh dissident's wife free to leave Kazakhstan (ANSA) - Rome, December 24 - The wife of Kazakh oligarch and political dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov is free to leave Kazakhstan, the country foreign ministry was quoted as saying by local media Tuesday.

Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old daughter were deported on a private jet to Kazakhstan after they were seized in May in a raid on a villa in Rome by Italian police, causing a major international scandal.

Italy has since repealed her expulsion order after it emerged Shalabayeva had the legal right to reside here.

Ablyazov, a former energy minister, was arrested in France on July 31 at his sister's house near Cannes. He has been in detention in the French city of Aix-en-Provence since, pending extradition requests from Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

Ablyazov fled to the UK in 2011, where he obtained political asylum, but was labeled a fugitive after he failed to attend hearings in an embezzlement case against him involving the BTA Bank he once ran.

He was reportedly fined 400 million dollars in damages.

Ablyazov has denied all charges against him, which he claims are aimed at removing him as a political rival to authoritarian Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Alfano's chief of staff at the interior ministry resigned over the expulsion scandal after it emerged that the Kazakh ambassador in Rome pressured security officials to make the raid, having ignored the normal channels via the foreign minister.