Security service charges former Astana Finance bosses with embezzlement

SKazakhstan's National Security Committee (KNB), the country's security service, said on Tuesday it had charged defaulted Astana Finance's former chairman Kintal Islamov and former chief executive Artur Akhmetov with embezzlement.


An Astana-based court had sanctioned the house arrest of the former executives last week, the KNB said in a statement on its website.


Astana Finance, meanwhile, filed a press release on Tuesday claiming that Akhmetov never worked as the company's chief executive.


Last week, Astana Finance's shareholders dismissed Kintal Islamov as chairman of the company and appointed in his stead Marat Aitenov, head of the legal department of Samruk-Kazyna, the state holding and investment company. At the same meeting, Yerlan Shakibayev, the current chief executive of Astana Finance, and Nina Karibaeva, head of the Consult Legal Group, an independent consulting firm, were also elected to the board of directors.


Astana Finance suspended repayments of its domestic and international debt in May 2009 and became the third Kazakh lender to default on its loans and to seek debt restructuring. The total principal amount of debt affected by the moratorium is around $1.7 billion, the Astana-based company said in June 2009.


Samruk-Kazyna owns 25.51 percent of shares of Astana Finance, according to its website but the state holding has de-facto taken managerial control of the company. In March, Astana Finance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samruk-Kazyna to receive state support, as it works to restructure its liabilities.


SRI

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