Kyrgyzstan says discussing Bakiyev ally’s extradition from Russia

A close confidante of the family of Kyrgyzstan’s former president has been arrested in Moscow and discussions have begun on his extradition from Russia to face fraud charges, Kyrgyz investigators said on Tuesday.

Sergei Kostyuk, the former head of AziaUniversalBank, was arrested on June 8 after a joint operation by Kyrgyz and Russian investigators, Kyrgyz chief investigator Tilek Alibayev said.

“They detained eight criminals who are on the interstate and international wanted list, three of whom were suspects in criminal cases related to the events of June 2010 in the south of the country,” Alibayev was quoted as saying by the Kyrgyz news website The other detainees were not identified.

Violent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks broke out a year ago in the southern city of Osh near Kyrgyzstan’s border with Uzbekistan. Several hundred people died in the violence, which followed the ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev earlier in the year.

Kostyuk was a moneyman for Maxim Bakiyev, the former president’s son.

“[He] could shed some light where the money in the accounts of the Bakiyev family came from,” Alibayev said. “The question of his extradition is now being resolved.”

He added that Kostyuk is accused of fraud in connection with the diversion of millions of dollars of public funds into the accounts belonging to the Bakiyev family and their associates.

Maxim Bakiev is thought to be living in England, while his father has been living in Belarus since he was given refuge by President Alexander Lukashenko after fleeing Kyrgyzstan in April 2010.

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