January 9, 2014 / 10:26 AM / 5 years ago

French court rules Kazakh dissident should be extradited

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, Jan 9 (Reuters) - 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)

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