Former Kyrgyz president's son arrested in London

By bne IntelliNews October 15, 2012

bne -

The son of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was arrested in London on October 12 on the request of US and Kyrgyz authorities.

Maxim Bakiyev is likely to be extradited to the US where he faces fraud charges. Bishkek has also submitted an extradition request but does not expect it to be fulfilled as Kyrgyzstan does not have an extradition treaty with the UK.

The 34-year-old Bakiyev was arrested when he voluntarily arrived at a Belgravia police station for questioning. Later in the day he appeared in court. The US embassy in Bishkek said that Washington has requested his extradition "to face trial in U.S. federal court on serious charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and obstruction of justice. If convicted, Mr. Bakiyev could face a lengthy prison sentence," the statement said.

A statement published on the Kyrgyz presidential website on October 13 also confirmed the arrest. It adds that, "due to the fact that between the Kyrgyz Republic and the United Kingdom there is no extradition agreement, the British side is currently considering the extradition of Maxim Bakiyev to the US."

Bakiyev was one of the most influential figures in his father's five-year rule, gaining the nickname "the Prince". He is believed to have profited from lucrative fuel supply contracts to the Manas airbase, used by US and coalition forces to support their operations in Afghanistan, as well as taking stakes in numerous other businesses.

In late 2009, he was appointed head of the newly-created Central Development Agency. Early in 2010, two major assets, the Severelectro power utility and the Chaken hydropower plant, were privatized, allegedly to businesses controlled indirectly by Maxim Bakiyev. Together with a hike in electricity and heating prices, this became the trigger for the April 2010 revolution.

He fled to the UK that same month, shortly after his father Kurmanbek Bakiyev was toppled in Kyrgyzstan's second revolution. He was detained briefly on his arrival at Farnboroough airfield, but later released while his application for political asylum was considered. He has claimed that his life would be in danger if he returns to Kyrgyzstan.

Several other members of the family, including Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his brother Zhanysh Bakiyev - both of whom are understood to be in Belarus - are also wanted by the Kyrgyz authorities in connection with their roles in attempting to put down the revolution, which resulted in the deaths of over 80 people. In September 2012, Minsk turned down an extradition request for Zhanysh Bakiyev to face murder charges in Kyrgyzstan.

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