AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France Jan 9 A French court
ruled on Thursday that dissident Kazakh Mukhtar Ablyazov,
accused of embezzling up to $6 billion from his former bank BTA
, should be extradited to Ukraine or Russia, though
with a preference for the latter.
Ablyazov, 50, who had been in hiding since being sentenced
to prison for contempt of court by an English judge 18 months
ago, was arrested near the Riviera resort of Cannes last July
and has been in custody since.
Kazakhstan, which wants to put him on trial, has no
extradition treaty with France. However, both Ukraine and Russia
have requested his extradition. His lawyer said he would appeal
against the decision.
(Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet; Writing by Leigh Thomas;
Editing by Paul Taylor)