No Decision on Mamay Yet

The trial of journalist Zhanbolat Mamay continues in Kazakhstan. It is not yet possible to say how it will end although there is no doubt that the verdict will be rendered not by the presiding judge but in Akorda where, as our sources inform us, no decision has been made yet as to which way to proceed.

However, since the trial is ending, the verdict will be reached soon.  At that, a most unexpected turn of events (such as a total acquittal or, conversely, a long-term imprisonment with property confiscation) is not out of the realm of possibility.

The uncertainty of the impending verdict can be explained by the fact that the criminal case against Zhanbolat Mamay has a particularly evident political color and has been instigated in the framework of Akorda’s permanent war against Mukhtar Ablyazov.

The matter is that, after France’s decision not to extradite Ablyazov to Russia, the Kazakh authorities have found themselves very limited in their abilities to act further. Without taking into consideration the actual physical destruction of the opponent, we believe Akorda today has only two working instruments for continuing the war – first, civic claims against Ablyazov and those affiliated with him and, second, a trial in France organized on the basis of the accusations earlier made against him in Kazakhstan.

It is our opinion, that former managers of BTA Bank – Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov (in absentia), Deputy Chairman Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov, and Head of the Loan Department Kayrat Sadykov – came before the court in Kazakhstan as a part of the preparation for this trial.

The appellate court’s recent decision to mitigate Sadykov’s punishment from 15 to 5 years of imprisonment follows the logic of our hypothesis that all the former managers will testify against Mukhtar Ablyazov at the upcoming trial in France.

Note that, unlike his fellow defendants, Kayrat Sadykov had initially pleaded only partially guilty for which he received a rather harsh warning from the authorities. It seems that now he has fully realized the necessity to cooperate and, after his plenary confession, has already been freed from jail.

It is obvious that Zhanbolat Mamay was also supposed to become a witness for the prosecution in France. However, either due to the unprofessionalism of the executors of the political order or because of the absence of real proof of his guilt, the trial has taken an unexpected, for Akorda, turn. So now, if Mamay is sentenced to prison based on the accusation of money laundering that never happened (the money received by Mamay supposedly from Ablyazov was used for launching an oppositional newspaper), it will become a weighty argument for Mukhtar Ablyazov’s defense.

The latter will undoubtedly use the verdict against Mamay (particularly, if it will be harsh) as proof that the Kazakhstan’s accusations made against Mukhtar Ablyazov in France (even though he is being accused of economic crimes) are of the political nature. The verdict whose obvious dubiousness will surely be confirmed by the civic society will become the irrefutable proof of the absence of fair trial and the reign of law in Kazakhstan, particularly when it comes to the criminal cases against Akorda’s opponents.


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