x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Kazakh fugitive may be extradited from UAE

A former Kazakh official charged with embezzling Dh19 million was found in the UAE last week.

DUBAI // A former Kazakh official charged with embezzling Dh19 million may soon face extradition from the UAE, reports say.

Anar Meshimbaeva, until 2009 the head of her country's statistics agency overseeing the national census, was found in the UAE last week, the Kazakh news agency Interfax said.

By Thursday the parliament had approved an extradition treaty with the UAE, which the president Nursultan Nazarbayev is expected to sign.

"We have already sent the necessary documents to the United Arab Emirates," Iogan Merkel, the first deputy prosecutor general of Kazakhstan, told the news website Gazeta.

"They are waiting for when we ratify the agreement."

Ms Meshimbaeva resigned in October 2009 after being accused, along with two deputies, of stealing 764.8 million tenge (Dh19m) set aside for the census held that year, Russia's Vremya newspaper reported. She was charged in absentia.

Six other Kazakh fugitives are in the UAE, Mr Merkel said last week. It was unclear if they also faced extradition.

The Kazakh Embassy in the UAE could not be reached for comment.

Only 176 of 1,618 Kazakh citizens listed as wanted by Interpol have been found, Ural Mukhamedzhanov, deputy of the lower chamber in Kazakhstan, told the news portal Tengrinews.kz.

Kazakhstan needs more extradition treaties to pursue those fugitives, Mr Mukhamedzhanov said.

Kazakhstan has treaties with China, South Korea, Lithuania, Mongolia and Turkey, and is negotiating with European Union states, Mr Merkel said.

chuang@thenational.ae