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DOJ returns loot stolen by Kyrgyzstan ex-president

The DOJ said Tuesday it has repatriated $4.5 million in corrupt proceeds by the former Kyrgyz Republic president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, pictured left, and his son Maxim Bakiyev.

The stolen money was discovered during banker Eugene Gourevitch’s prosecution in New York for insider trading and the court entered a $6 million forfeiture order.

After Gourevitch’s conviction, the the Kyrgyz government filed a Petition for Remission with the DOJ, saying the funds were traced back to money stolen by Maxim Bakiyev from Kyrgyz state authorities and other banking institutions. 

The DOJ said in Tuesday’s release that the remission petition was granted in October 2018. 

According to the DOJ, around $4.5 million has been collected and approved for repatriation of the $6 million total that will be repatriated. 

These funds will be deposited into the account of the Government of the Kyrgyz in the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Additional efforts will be made by both the United States and Kyrgyzstan to try to locate and return the remainder of the stolen assets in the forfeiture order, the DOJ said. 

In a joint statement made by Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. State Department, the recovered money will go to improving the rural health care system and construction of water supply facilities. 

The Kygyz Republic has also earmarked some of the money towards strengtheninginstitutions responsible for anti-corruption programs.”

Kurmanbek Bakiyev came to power in 2005 during the “Tulip Revolution.” He served as the second president of the Central Asian country until 2010, when the opposition stormed government offices and forced Bakiyev to flee the country. 

It was reported in 2012 that Bakiyev received Belarusian citizenship. 

Maxim Bakiyev fled to the UK in 2010 after his father lost power. In 2013 Maxim was sentenced in absentia by a Kyrgyz court to 25 years in prison for corruption.

In January 2017, an Interpol red notice against Maxim Bakiyev was withdrawn and he was granted political asylum by the UK. 

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Harry Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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