A 51-year-old policeman has been sentenced to jail for accepting money from the Kazakh secret service.
The officer – who has been sacked in the meantime – reportedly received 37,500 Euros from a former KNB official to provide him with secret data concerning the case of Rakhat Aliyev.
The Kazakh state prosecution accuses the former ambassador of the country in Vienna of having ordered the murder of two bankers four years ago. The bodies of the men were found earlier this year. Aliyev has denied any wrongdoing. The former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev claimed the case was a conspiracy and a campaign against him.
Aliyev – who fled to Austria after the accusations had been brought forward – said in an interview with Austrian magazine profil earlier this month he was representing the opposition in his country now. "People are sick of the regime. Twenty years are enough," he said.
Viennese judges sentenced the ex-policeman to six months behind bars for abuse of office yesterday (Thurs). The defendant asked for time to think over whether he would appeal the sentence which also included a suspended jail term of two and a half years. He was acquitted of espionage charges. The prosecution appealed the verdict nevertheless.
The former police officer reportedly carried out observations for the KNB during working hours. He also asked a colleague to browse the police internal information system for facts about investigations against Aliyev. The colleague was given a suspended eight-month prison term. Police officials did not reveal whether he was dismissed over the occurrences.
The whereabouts of Leonid B., the retired KNB official who assigned the Austrian policeman, are unknown. The man disappeared after having spoken to the Austrian prosecution in 2009. Back then, he admitted to having provided the former policeman with tens of thousands of US dollars in cash. The Kazakh man was not put in custody despite this confession.
The feud between Aliyev and Nazarbayev has kept Austrian authorities and politicians busy for years. The ex-ambassador recently accused the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ) – who cooperate with the People's Party (ÖVP) on federal level – of having benefited from the good relationship between Austria and Kazakhstan. Austria's political elite has denied accusations they protected Aliyev in any way. Aliyev had left Austria in the meantime. He is reportedly hiding in a Mediterranean country after having received murder threats. Juridical decision-makers rejected two appeals to extradite Aliyev in the past years over fears that he would not get a fair trial in his home country.
"I'm neither a kidnapper nor a murderer. I'm accused of crimes I did not carry out. (...) I haven't got the least thing to do with the deaths of these men," he said speaking to profil about allegations that he ordered the killing of the Nurbank managers.
His lawyer Manfred Ainedter said Aliyev intended to cooperate with authorities. "He is not on the run because he didn't do anything wrong," the Viennese advocate pointed out.
Austrian prosecutors recently announced they started investigating against Aliyev. He could face charges for abduction and homicide. Ainedter put into question whether his client could be prosecuted for the crimes he is accused of in Austria since they allegedly took place in Kazakhstan.