The Supreme Court dismissed in a first-instance ruling an “certiorari” application to put aside an order issued in November by the Nicosia District Court freezing assets in the possession of the widow of a former Kazakh official.
The assets include up to €33m in bank deposits at a cooperative bank and real estate worth €2.3m.
They came into the possession of Elnora Shoraz, widow of Rakhat Aliyev who died in an Austrian prison almost two years ago while awaiting trial on murder and kidnapping charges.
Judge Tasia Psara-Miltiadou said in her ruling issued on December 29 that they would remain frozen, according to a transcript posted on the website of the Cyprus Bar Association.
The order, Psara-Miltiadou continued, was founded upon Cyprus’s anti-money laundering law.
Shoraz, whom Aliyev married after he divorced Dariga, daughter of the head of the Kazakh kleptocratic regime, Nursultan Nazarbayev, filed her application on behalf of her two underage children and her British Virgin Islands-based company Zirtovia Ltd.
Shoraz also asked for the termination of a procedure initiated following a request for legal assistance filed by the Kazakh government pursuant to the United Nations’ convention against organised crime.
A group of Kazakh dissidents also claim the assets, which, they maintain are product of Aliyev’s criminal activity while he was part of Nazarbayev’s regime following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Serik Medetbekov, one of the group’s members and also director of the foreign office of the Kazakh opposition, said that in the late 1990s he had been pressured at gunpoint to pass Aliyev his television and radio channel RIK “without indemnity”.
Nazarbayev, the former head of the Central Asian country’s communist party, rules Kazakhstan with an iron fist.