26 Jun 2019 18:13

Kyrgyzstan's ex-president says corruption accusations against him are absurd

BISHKEK. June 26 (Interfax) - Kyrgyzstan's ex-president Almazbek Atambayev has denied corruption accusations.

The former president said on Wednesday witnesses' testimonies against him had been received under pressure.

"You see what is happening in the Kyrgyz parliament in connection with the country's President Sooronbai Jeenbekov's wish to get rid of his political opponent. As to the essence of the accusations made against me, I can only repeat that it's complete nonsense and absurdity," Atambayev said in a statement released by his press service.

"It is also obvious that the testimonies by [Kyrgyzstan's former energy minister Osmonbek] Artykbayev and [Kyrgyzstan's former deputy prime minister [Atakhanov] against me were received under pressure. It's not a deal with the investigators, it's a deal with their conscience, which they apparently don't have," the ex-president of Kyrgyzstan said.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor General's Office earlier partly supported the charges brought by parliament against former president Almazbek Atambayev, Prosecutor General Otkurbek Jamshitov said at a Tuesday session of the parliamentary committee for constitutional issues.

He enumerated the episodes in which the Prosecutor General's Office found signs of felonies: the misappropriation of a section of land in the village of Koi-Tash where Atambayev's house is now located, the unlawful liberation of crime baron Aziz Batukayev, illicit enrichment (a parliamentary commission pointed out to discrepancy in tax declarations), corruption in relation to the upgrade of the Bishkek TPP and possible involvement in illegal coal deliveries to the TPP.

The Prosecutor General said that in relation to all these episodes the former president is suspected with corruption under Article 319 of the Criminal Code.

As to the 2013 release of crime boss Batukayev, Atambayev said on Wednesday he had repeatedly asked the Russian administration for his extradition to his home country.

"I also hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom I have repeatedly asked in writing and otherwise to extradite Batukayev back to Kyrgyzstan, will say his word on that. I hoped until the last day of my presidential term that Batukayev would be extradited back. The Kyrgyz authorities now keep silent about these facts," Atambayev said in his statement.

" Sooronbai Jeenbekov launched a machine of lawlessness. Obviously, the wave created by this machine will knock down both Jeenbekov and his ugly family-clan regime. This process has become irreversible amid full absence of any positive changes in the economy and the social sphere, amid a full paralysis of the state governance system," Atambayev said.

On June 20 the Kyrgyz parliament supplied the Prosecutor General's Office with the conclusions of a special commission formulating charges against Atambayev with the purpose of stripping him of immunity. This week the Prosecutor General may request the parliament to strip the former president of immunity to bring criminal charges against him.

If the parliament makes a positive decision to deprive Atambayev of immunity, he will become the first president of Kyrgyzstan who can be prosecuted based on charges against him after leaving power voluntarily through an election.