Kyrgyzstan in Talks With U.S. Over Ex-Leader’s Son
By Christie Smythe - Dec 4, 2012 12:00 AM ET
Kyrgyzstan’s government is providing information to American officials as part of a U.S. effort to extradite the son of the ousted Kyrgyz president from the U.K. to face insider-trading charges.
Maksim Bakiyev, the 34-year-old son of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, faces an extradition hearing in London, scheduled for Dec. 7, on U.S. charges of conspiracy to commitsecurities fraud and obstruction of justice, according to an Oct. 13 statement from the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan.
Maksim Bakiyev, who served as head of a development agency in Kyrgyzstan, has been living in the U.K. since fleeing the Central Asian nation following an April 2010 coup. He is free on bail, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Kadyr Toktogulov, a spokesman for Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev, said officials are providing information to U.S. authorities about crimes Maksim Bakiyev is alleged to have committed in his native country.
“The Kyrgyz government is in contact with relevant U.S. authorities,” Toktogulov said in a phone interview.
The government accuses Maksim Bakiyev of abusing his governmental post, misusing at least $300 million in state funds and money laundering, Toktogulov said. He said U.S. authorities may include in their case information about Maksim Bakiyev’s activities in Kyrgyzstan.
“They will surely be aware of what Maksim has done here in Kyrgyzstan,” Toktogulov said.
Beyond the Oct. 13 statement, the U.S. Justice Department hasn’t said whether or where criminal charges have been filed against Maksim Bakiyev. Michael O’Kane, his London-based lawyer, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, declined to comment on the extradition proceedings.
The extradition hearing is set to be held before Judge Quentin Purdy on Dec. 7 in Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The judge may rule after the hearing, reserve decision until a later date, or pass the case on to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, a U.K. agency that handles immigration, counter- terrorism and criminal matters.
In April federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, accused U.K. businessman Taiyyib Ali Munir, 30, of aiding a former “high-level government official” of an unidentified Central Asian country in an insider-trading scheme from 2010 to 2011.
That official is Maksim Bakiyev, said a person with knowledge of the case who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.
Brooklyn Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Posa declined to comment on the Munir case.
According to the Munir complaint, the former Central Asian official allegedly earned about $2 million from trades on inside information about Global Industries Ltd. and Tyco International Ltd. (TYC) He lost money on an illegal trade of InterMune Inc. (ITMN), according to the complaint. Munir was among four people who supplied illicit tips for the trades, prosecutors said.
Munir pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy for agreeing to obtain and sell confidential earnings reports of public companies. He faces as long as six months in prison at his Jan. 24 sentencing.
U.S. prosecutors refer in court papers to a witness cooperating with them in the insider-trading case. The cooperating witness, who isn’t named, helped record Munir’s conversations and was a friend and financial adviser to the unidentified former Central Asian official, according to court papers.
The cooperating witness is Eugene Gourevitch, a U.S. citizen who served as a financial adviser to Maksim Bakiyev and his father, Toktogulov said in the Nov. 8 interview.
Gourevitch is now in an Italian prison pending an investigation into charges that he engaged in tax crimes and siphoned $2.7 billion from companies in Italy, his Rome-based lawyer, Alessio Di Amato, said in a Nov. 28 phone interview.
Di Amato said Gourevitch came to Italy from New York in October to be interviewed by Italian investigators. Gourevitch is also wanted for crimes in Kyrgyzstan, which is seeking to extradite him from Italy, Di Amato said.
Di Amato said the Italian case is still under investigation and he declined to comment on whether Gourevitch will deny charges. Gourevitch considers Kyrgyzstan’s case “totally ungrounded,” Di Amato said.
Gourevitch’s New York-based lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, didn’t return calls seeking comment on the case.
The Munir case is U.S. v. Munir, 12-cr-00648, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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