On 9 June the Court of Appeal of Perugia, Italy, acquitted Italian law enforcement officers in the case of the deportation in 2013 of Alma Shalabayeva, the wife of Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, who is wanted by several countries for murder and illegal withdrawal of large financial funds ($6 billion), writes Gary Cartwright.
According to the Italian Rai television, the court fully acquitted the defendants, among them the former heads of the mobile squad and immigration service of the Rome Police Department, Renato Cortese and Maurizio Imbrota.
The court recalled that on October 19th, 2020, the court of Perugia sentenced R.Cortese, M. Improta, Luca Armeni and Francesco Stampacchia to 5 years in jail, Vincenzo Tramma to 4 years, Stefano Leoni to three years and six months. The actions of Justice of the Peace Stephanie Lavore, who issued a decision on the deportation of a citizen of Kazakhstan, were also recognized as completely legitimate.
Then, on the night of May 28-29th, 2013, the Italian police detained Alma Shalabayeva and her daughter at their Casalpalocco residence due to the fact that they used fake diplomatic passports of the Central African Republic on the territory of the country.
According to the Kazakh Internet portal Nomad, during the inspection, the Italian police found that Alma Shalabayeva was in the country on the basis of a “passport with obvious signs of fictitiousness” issued by the Central African Republic in the name of “Ayan Alma”.
As a result of the examination, the Italian police established the fact of passport forgery, which is a criminal offense in Italy.
In addition, the Kazakh press writes that when meeting with representatives of Italian law enforcement agencies, Mukhtar Ablyazov’s wife presented a passport of the Central African Republic.
Alma Shalabayeva said: “I decided not to show Kazakh documents simply because I was afraid. Therefore, I decided to show the passport of the TSAR. The document was diplomatic, and I thought that by presenting it, I could stop the lawlessness. I was in Europe on my Kazakh passport, there were all the marks and visas.
Then the Italian police and the court decided to deport the citizen of Kazakhstan to her homeland, where she lived for some time in her own villa in the foothills of Almaty.
At the same time, the situation with the fake passports of M.Ablyazov’s wife is not the first such controversy in her life…
As the CPC TV channel reports, in June 2013, a whole group of criminals from among the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan were convicted in Atyrau, who issued fake passports to Ablyazov’s closest relatives for money when they were physically absent from Kazakhstan.
Three migration police officers went to jail for 7 and 9 years.
Two more of their colleagues were released under amnesty. And the former employee of the registry office, who sincerely repented, was given two years of probation. The investigation found that the company issued 8 passports to Ablyazov’s children, wife and other relatives.
As the investigation materials showed, Alma Shalabayeva entered into a preliminary conspiracy with Zharimbetov Zhaksylyk, who hid from the investigative authorities in London, so that with the help of officials of the Registration Service Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, he issued new foreign and internal passports of the Republic of Kazakhstan for her and her children.
Alma Shalabayeva gave Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov 16 thousand US dollars, which he, in turn, gave to officials in Kazakhstan for the production of fake passports.
In the Atyrau City Court, it was found that the following passports were illegally obtained: Shalabayev Syrym, Shalabayeva Zhanna, Shalabayeva Aigul, Shalabayev Salim, Shalabayeva Alma (spouse), Ablyazov Madiyar (son), Ablyazov Aldiyar (son) and Ablyazova Alua (daughter).
Corrupt officials went to jail, and the Ablyazov family was able to travel abroad safely.
Today Mukhtar Ablyazov lives quietly in France, having received the status of a “political refugee”.
Despite the fact that criminal cases have been initiated against him in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and the UK court has issued an official document ordering the police or court staff to arrest and take Ablyazov to prison if he enters the UK.
The main order for the arrest of the Kazakh oligarch was issued on February 16th, 2012 by the High Court of England. It was reported that Mukhtar Ablyazov repeatedly gave false testimony, presented false documents to the British court, through which assets and transactions were hidden from the bank, and also did not appear at court sessions. In this regard, the court decided to sentence Ablyazov for contempt of court to imprisonment for a total term of 22 months.
In Kazakhstan, Ablyazov is accused of embezzling $7.5 billion. In addition, in November 2018, the Court of Kazakhstan sentenced the ex-banker to life imprisonment in absentia after he was found guilty of organizing the murder of the former chairman of the board of the credit institution, Yerzhan Tatishev.
In Russia, a court sentenced Ablyazov in absentia to 15 years in prison.
In July 2013, Ablyazov was detained in France. At the same time, Ukraine and Russia simultaneously sought his extradition.
Kazakhstan itself filed a complaint against the former banker in Paris in 2017 on the basis of a provision of the French Criminal Code that allows the trial of a foreigner whose extradition was refused for political reasons for a crime or offense committed outside France.
Nevertheless, after nine years of proceedings, the Italian court recognized the actions of the police and the judge during the detention of Ablyazov’s family members as lawful. The lawyers of the convicts recognized the decision of the court of Perugia as “great justice”.
It should be noted that one of the policemen who detained Alma Shalabayeva, Renato Cortese, during the proceedings, in 2021 received the prestigious Valarioti-Impastato National Award.
This award was established as a tribute to the memory of two victims of the violence of the “Sicilian” mafia – Giuseppe Valarioti and Peppino Impastato.
The prestigious award is awarded annually in Italy to “the best fighters against crime and propagators of the culture of legality, who with courageous determination and an unyielding conscience fight organized crime in various spheres of society.”
It is no accident that Cortese, as one of the main actors in the capture of various mafia fugitives, received such a prestigious award.
Cortese was crime Commissioner in Palermo from 2017 until mid-October 2020. Before becoming a commissar, an Italian anti-mafia fighter tracked down and arrested the bosses of one of the world’s most powerful criminal syndicates, the ‘Ndrangheta.
In Sicily, with his subordinates, R. Cortese arrested major criminals like Gaspare Spatuzza, Enzo and Giovanni Bruschi, Pietro Aglieri, Benedetto Spera and Salvatore Grigoli. But the most coveted prey, undoubtedly, remains the godfather of Cosa Nostra, Bernardo Provenzano, caught after 43 years of inactivity.
Now, after the recognition of Alma Shalabayeva’s arrest as legitimate, the reputation of the Italian policeman has been fully restored.