Rakhat Aliyev threatened in prison, new evidence emerges

Rakhat Aliyev, formerly the son-in-law of Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev is moved to secure cell in Vienna prison after receiving threats from other inmates

Prisoners in Austrian jail have allegedly asked Aliyev for thousands of euros to leave him in peace
Prisoners in Austrian jail have allegedly asked Aliyev for thousands of euros to leave him in peace

Kazakh exile Rakhat Aliyev who is currently detained in Austria has been moved to a more secure prison cell after being the repeated target of threats and attacks.

Concurrently,  new evidence on his involvement in the murder of two bankers could undermine his claims that the accusations brought against him were politically motivated.

According to a report in Der Falter news magazine Aliyev was not sent to solitary confinement, but will instead share a cell because of fears he might commit suicide.

Aliyev was arrested in Vienna in early June after turning himself in to police voluntarily because he wanted to cooperate with the investigation over the murder of two men.

In correspondence with prison authorities, Aliyev’s lawyer Manfred Ainedter complained about threats of extortion and theft, with other prisoners allegedly asking for thousands of euros to leave Aliyev unmolested.

An arrest warrant for the former son-in-law of Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev was issued on May 19, 2014. He is under criminal prosecution in Austria over his alleged involvement in the murder of two bankers in 2008.

Kazakhstan has since sentenced Aliyev to two successive terms of 20 years each, in trials which have been deemed politically motivated by Austrian authorities.  The Austrian government has also denied extradition requests from Kazakhstan for similar reasons.

Furthermore, Aliyev has had his assets frozen by Maltese courts as part of a money laundering inquiry. The Maltese investigation is being conducted in parallel with a similar inquiry underway in Krefeld, Germany.

In March, the Criminal Court in Malta issued a freezing order on the assets owned by Aliyev, in the first confirmed action that the embattled millionaire was being investigated over money laundering.

The freezing order was issued against Aliyev, 52, and his Austrian wife Elnara Shorazova, and a host of companies he is connected to.

Since 2010, Aliyev took up residence in Malta. If he returns to Kazakhstan, he faces the prospect of 40 years in prison, while the Austrian charges carry with them a life sentence.

New evidence

According to a report in Die Presse newspaper, Skype calls implicating Aliyev in serious crimes have been authenticated by Austrian authorities.

This evidence undermine Aliyev's defence claims that the case brought against him was politically-motivated and manufactured.

Aliyev's problems first began in 2007, when he was implicated in the disappearance of two former executives of the Kazakh bank Nurbank, both under investigation for fraud.

In these Skype calls Aliyev, who at the time was the owner of the bank, allegedly discusses the location of the executives' bodies - which were only discovered seven months later by Kazakh authorities.

Additionally, a manufactured alibi at the time of the disappearance of the executives was said to have been discussed.

Days after the disappearance, Aliyev was appointed as Kazakhstan's official Ambassador in Austria, as well as Permanent Representative to the OSCE, granting him diplomatic immunity.

Later that year, Kazakh law enforcement bodies asked for permission to investigate the alleged abduction of the bankers "without regard for rank", with Aliyev formally accused of being involved by May 2007.  

Later that same month, Nazarbayev signed a constitutional amendment that made himself effectively president-for-life, a move that was widely opposed, including by Aliyev.

In addition to charges of abduction and extortion relating to the missing executives, Aliyev was also implicated in the kidnapping of a Russian TV executive working in Kazakstan in the mid 1990s.