Will They Make a Deal with Zhomart Ertayev?

When former Chairman of Bank RBK Zhomart Ertayev was arrested in Moscow, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan Andrey Lukin announced with confidence to Tengrinews.kz that the negotiations with the Russian law-enforcement agencies was underway and, upon completing some necessary legal procedures, Ertayev would be extradited to Kazakhstan.

However, we believe that the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan has mistaken the wish for the reality.

Why is that so?

First, the Russian authorities are likely to comply with all the required procedures as they have done in the equally scandalous case of Veronika Efimova, the former head of one of BTA Bank’s corporate clients departments.

Second, Zhomart Ertayev expresses no desire to return to Kazakhstan and end up in the prisoner’s box. Moreover, he has already requested political asylum in Russia, declared the political nature of his persecution on the part of the Kazakhstan authorities, and asked the Russian civic society for support.

Third, the refugee has at his disposal enough monetary resources to pay for the lawyers and finance his legal defense.

Fourth, he is famous for his fighting spirit and the ability to extricate himself from even the most difficult circumstances.

All this shows that, even if the Russian authorities decide to extradite Zhomart Ertayev, de-facto, it will only happen in a few years. Due to the fact that, after going through all the required administrative and legal procedures in Russia including appealing the Public Prosecution’s decisions in the Supreme Court of Russian Federation, Zhomart Ertayev will undoubtedly appeal to the European Court of the Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Kazakhstan authorities are unlikely to avoid such turn of events since Russia is a member of the European Council and does not wish to violate its obligations over every little thing, and we are sure that Zhomart Ertayev knows his rights and will advocate for them till the last breath.

For this reason, practically the only chance the Kazakhstan Public Prosecution Office has to ensure Zhomart Ertayev’s return to the country is to make a deal with him. This development is quite feasible since the scandalously famous banker is likely to desire for the criminal case against him to get dropped so he will get off with a short prison term which, taking into consideration his house arrest in Moscow, may turn out to exist only on paper.

With that, the Kazakhstan authorities have very little time left: Zhomart Ertayev had been placed under house arrest for 40 days, till June 16, 2018. And it is very likely that the Russian court will not prolong it and impose travel restrictions only.

Thus, it is unlikely that the Kazakhstan Public Prosecution Office and the Anti-Corruption Agency will repeat their recent success with extraditing another Bank RBK figurant Bakhyt Ibragim.

Judging by the fact that Bakhyt Ibragim was arrested by the German police through the Interpol on April 23, 2018 and already on June 2, 2018 he turned up in Astana pretrial detention center, he either agreed to the extradition or did not appeal the decision of the German authorities. The reasons are clear – Bakhyt Ibragim himself as well as his relatives including Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev are extremely keen on not igniting the further scandal around his persona.

We will see what happens with Ertayev.

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