Russia Extradites Kazakh Businessman To Astana

ASTANA -- Russia has extradited a Kazakh businessman to Astana, where he is wanted on financial-fraud charges that his lawyers say are untrue.

The Kazakh Prosecutor-General's Office said on March 15 that Zhomart Ertaev was being held in pretrial detention in the Kazakh capital.

Moscow police arrested Ertaev in May 2018 at Kazakhstan's request and placed the fugitive oligarch under house arrest.

Ertaev's lawyers have said their client renounced his Kazakh citizenship and asked for political asylum in Russia, arguing he could be killed if returned to Kazakhstan.

According to the Kazakh Prosecutor-General's office, Ertaev is suspected of fraud while working as an adviser to Bank RBK in Kazakhstan that bilked the institution of $80 million.

Earlier in 2009, Ertaev spent nine months in pretrial detention on suspicion of embezzlement, but was released after a court dropped those charges.

He was found guilty, however, on lesser charges of misusing bank funds and violating accounting regulations.

The court ordered his release on the grounds that his nine months in pretrial detention was sufficient punishment.

Russian media have reported that Ertaev is the chairman of Troyka-D Bank in Moscow and an honorary president of Alma Group, an investment company based at the Moskva-Citi business complex in the Russian capital.