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Tearful Shalabayeva 'very happy' to return to Italy

Thanks Foreign Minister Bonino again for intervention

27 December, 14:12
Tearful Shalabayeva 'very happy' to return to Italy (see related stories) (ANSA) - Rome, December 27 - Alma Shalabayeva, the wife of Kazakh oligarch and political dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, was moved to tears by happiness after she returned to Italy on Friday over six months after being expelled in a controversial operation.

"I want to thank (Italian Foreign Minister) Emma Bonino, the foreign ministry and the media for having handled my case and enabled me to return to Italy," Shalabayeva said before leaving Rome's Fiumicino airport.

"I'm very happy to be in Italy. Thank you everyone". Shalabayeva and her young child Alua 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 following pressure from Kazakh officials, causing a major international scandal.

Italy repealed her expulsion order after it emerged Shalabayeva had the legal right to reside here.

Shalabayeva was able to leave Kazakhstan after the authorities in Astana this week lifted restrictions on her movements, following lobbying from Bonino.

Shalabayeva landed in Rome with Alua and her two older children were waiting for the them in Rome when they arrived.