Kyrgyzstan's Fugitive Former Customs Chief Detained In Baku At Bishkek's Request

BISHKEK -- The former head of Kyrgyzstan's Customs Service, Adamkul Junusov has been detained in Baku at the request of authorities in Bishkek.

Kyrgyz Financial Police spokeswoman Anastasia Piskur told RFE/RL that Junusov was detained in Baku's Heydar Aliyev International Airport on December 5.

Piskur said Kyrgyz investigators were traveling to Azerbaijan to bring Junusov back to Bishkek, where he is wanted on charges of abusing his office.

The Financial Police in Bishkek previously charged that Junusov's "corrupt" activities as head of the Customs Service from 2013 to 2016 had cost Kyrgyzstan's state treasury 166 million soms, or about $2.1 million.

Junusov's whereabouts had not been known since the summer.

He was added to Kyrgyzstan's wanted list in August after he was indicted in absentia and a court in Bishkek issued a warrant for his arrest.

Junusov is the latest of several former Kyrgyz officials facing corruption charges in Bishkek after working during the 2011-2017 term of former President Almazbek Atambaev.

Atambaev has criticized his successor, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, since March for sacking or arresting a number of his close allies in what he called a "pseudo-anticorruption" campaign.

Two Atambaev allies who also served as prime minister when he was president, Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, were arrested in June on corruption charges.

In October, Atambaev's former adviser Ikramjan Ilmiyanov was detained in Russia and brought by Kyrgyz authorities to Bishkek where he was arrested on corruption charges.

Kyrgyz lawmakers and other politicians recently have been calling for an investigation into some decisions made by Atambaev while he was in office.

Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court ruled in early October that the immunity provided to the country's former presidents is unconstitutional.

On November 27, a parliamentary committee outlined a bill that would eliminate immunity for former presidents, potentially clearing a way for Atambaev to be prosecuted.