A Kazakh ex-oligarch and mysterious recordings
© mukhtarablyazov.org 04.04.2014

INFO OBS. Guillaume-Denis Faure has discovered that his professionnel SMSes have been published in the Ukrainian media. A very worrying affair.

Over a number of weeks, maybe months, the mobile phone of Paris-based lawyer, Maitre Guillaume-Denis Faure, had been tapped. Not through a court decision, but by unknown individuals who had hacked his professional email inbox. The lawyer had intervened on behalf of Ukraine in the extradition affair of Kazakh ex-oligarch, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who has been accused by Kiev- and by Moscow – of embezzling over 6 billion dollars. The businessman, a political opponent of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakh president since 1989, was arrested on 31 July 2013 in a villa on the Côte-d'Azur and charged. On 9 January 2014, the French courts ruled in favour of his extradition to Russia. His lawyers have appealed to the Court of Cassation.

Guillaume-Denis Faure was hired by the previous Ukrainian government, that has now been overthrown, to represent the Ukrainian State in this extradition procedure. In mid-March, the lawyer learned that the Ukrainian website, trust.ua, was publishing SMSes that he allegedly received or exchanged with other lawyers involved in this affair as well as with a magistrate of the general Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal Aix-en-Provence.

The article, which focused on the legal troubles of Mukhtar Ablyazov in France, published two recordings left on the voicemail of Maitre Faure as well as emails of a Ukrainian law firm with which he is in contact.

His legal response was quick. He made a complaint on 19 March in order to discover the source of the wire taps of which he was a victim. IT experts confirmed the hacking of his e-mails. His suspicions are aimed at the entourage of Mr. Ablyazov. « If it turns out that Mr. Ablyazov is at the bottom o this affair, it would not be surprising”, said the lawyer, referring to the businessman’s sentence to 22 months in prison by British courts for outrage towards magistrates. Critics of the Kazakh have not hesitated in labeling him as a con-artist cynically playing the “ political opponent” card.

The work of secret services ?

A little too cartoonish of a portrait, retorts his entourage. One of his lawyers, Maitre Peter Salhas, finds it “rude” that it be thought that his client was the instigator of the wiretaps. This type of method “may be the work of Kazakh, Russian or Ukrainian secret services”, he defended. He added that the publication of SMSes took place in the same period as the regime of the then Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, was crumbling. “Mr. Ablyazov’s defence is founded on a legal basis, only in law, nothing but the law”, replied Maitre Jean-Pierre Mignard, another of the ex-oligarch’s lawyers.

Ex-director of the Kazakh bank, BTA, Mukhtar Ablyazov is accused by Moscow and Kiev of having embezzled, via shell companies, funds amounting up to 5 billion and 400 million dollars of the Russian and Ukrainian branches of BTA respectively.

After having made his fortunes in the mid-90s, he rapidly climbed up the ladder of power. In 1998, he was named Minister for Energy, a strategic post in a country rich in gas and petrol. One year later, he was back on the business track before then being accused of embezzlement.

As the main financer of the opposition party, Kazakh democratic Choice, he was sentenced in 2002 to 6 years in prison. He was pardoned in 2003 and named as president of BTA, until the bank’s nationalization in 2009 and with it, new charges of fraud. Mukhtar Ablyazov fled in the same year to the UK, where he obtained political asylum in 2011. Mukhar Ablyazov is supported by a number of NGOs.

 Source: tempsreel.nouvelobs.com