Fugitive Kazakh Tycoon’s Ex-Lawyer Says Her Jailed Brother Released

Kazakh businessman Iskander Erimbetov has been released from prison “due to a health condition,” according to his sister, Bota Jardemalie.

Jardemalie, a former lawyer for fugitive tycoon and opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov, wrote on Facebook on December 30 that her brother was home and expressed thanks to everyone who “supported my brother and our family.”

Jardemalie did not give any further details.

Erimbetov was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2018 on corruption charges that his supporters have said were politically motivated.

Erimbetov was arrested in November 2017 and charged with embezzlement and with laundering money allegedly stolen by Ablyazov. The latter charge was later dropped.

Relatives claimed that Erimbetov’s arrest was an effort to put pressure on Jardemalie over her representation of Ablyazov. Jardemalie has been granted political asylum in Belgium.

Ablyazov, a former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank who lives abroad, is a prominent opponent of Kazakhstan’s government. He is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion.

Ablyazov denies the accusations, saying they are politically motivated. Several politicians and activists have fled Kazakhstan in recent years out of fear for their safety or in anticipation of politically motivated prosecution.

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