Ex-Kazakh Prime Minister Jailed On Corruption Charges

By RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

QARAGHANDY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's former Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on corruption charges.

The Qaraghandy Regional Court sentenced Akhmetov on December 11 after finding him guilty of embezzlement and misusing the state budget in significant amounts.

Akhmetov, who went on trial almost four months ago, pleaded not guilty. 

In his last testimony in the courtroom on December 9, Akhmetov called on President Nursultan Nazarbaev "to forgive my negligence which led to corruption" in the Qaraghandy region.

Akhmetov, 56, is a native of Qaraghandy. He served as prime minister between September 2012 and April 2014. He was appointed defense minister in April last year, but resigned the following October.

Akhmetov's resignation was officially presented as "his own decision."