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Rakhat Aliyev Found Dead in His Cell

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Kazakh president’s ex-son-in-law was found dead Tuesday morning in a Vienna in jail cell as he awaited trial on double murder charge – after stealing $1 bln and trying to pin his troubles on Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. After a failed coup attempts, he fled Kazakhstan and used a series of forged documents to claim he was a persecuted opposition leader.

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Rakhat Aliyev

Austrian authorities found Rakhat Aliyev hanging from gauze bandages tied around a coat hook in his hospital-wing cell, launching speculation about the true circumstances of his death. Prison officials had rated him “green” on a traffic-light scale, meaning he was not a suicide risk and could be left unattended.

Thus, the death of 52-year-old Aliyev closes a nearly unbelievable tale that ensnared American and British political luminaries, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and former CIA director James Woolsey, in an elaborate international scheme.

Fanciful scheme claimed world leaders from six countries were working with the KNB to discredit him and keep his former father-in-law in power. Forgeries produced by his former underlings at Kazakhstan’s KNB, the post-Soviet KGB successor organization, spelled out a bogus global conspiracy to squash him. Documents were later declared frauds by US and Austrian courts and World Bank arbitrators in Paris

However, attorneys don’t believe the official ruling of a suicide. Lawyer Mathias Preuschl said Tuesday that he had “massive doubts” that his client, facing trial for double-murder, took his own life. “Members of our team visited him only yesterday”, Preuschl told reporters, “and he was full of energy and confident of unmasking the accusations constructed against him for what they are, namely a smear campaign directed by the Kazakh KNB intelligence service.”

Lawyer Stefan Prochaska told the Austrian state broadcast service ORF that “he was in touch with three lawyers as recently as yesterday and he didn’t give a single hint indicating that he was suicidal or depressive – I’d rather describe him as combative and aggressive.”

Aliyev fled to Austria when he was being investigated for the murder of the two Nurbank managers. Before he was arrested, he was quickly appointed the new Kazakh ambassador to Austria on 9 February 2007 as a polite way to get him out of the country. While in Austria, Aliyev announced his candidacy for the upcoming Kazakhstan elections and criticized the sitting Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. A full domestic Kazakh investigation began in May 2007 into Aliyev’s activities.

As a result his diplomatic passport was cancelled, as was his diplomatic immunity. Kazakhstan filed its first extradition request with Austria at this time. The domestic Kazak investigation concluded in January 2008 with Kazak courts sentencing Aliyev to 40 years of imprisonment in absentia. His crimes were kidnapping, treason and plotting a coup d’état against his father-in-law Nursultan Nazarbayev.

He married to Austrian citizen Elnara Shorazova and enjoyed free movement throughout Europe although being investigated on fraud charges in the Austria, Germany and Malta. According to reports, in November 2013 Aliyev tried to open a bank account in Cyprus with an invalid account which alerted authorities. The following January, two members of the European Parliament made public calls to the European Commissioner to get Eurojust and Europol to assist with the ongoing criminal investigations.

Finally, in 2013, Aliyev’s Austrian passport was cancelled by the decision of Austrian Minister of Interior.

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