PRAGUE, 13 May, Caucasus Times. Civil lawsuit against Viktor Khrapunov, Kazakh oligarch on the run who is accused of large-scale fraud and embezzlement, is under way in the United States.
In 2014, the city of Almaty filed a lawsuit in California against its former mayor Viktor Khrapunov, members of his family and their shell companies registered in the U.S. and a number of other countries. U.S. District Court in Los Angeles rejected Kazakhstan’s claim, but the Californian Court of Appeals overruled the original decision. Currently, the Kazakh authorities have issued an international warrant for Viktor Khrapunov and his wife Leila.
Close relative of another fugitive oligarch from Kazakhstan Mukhtar Ablyazov, Viktor Khrapunov is listed among the wealthiest men in Switzerland where he fled after facing trouble back home.
In Kazakhstan, Khrapunov held a number of high-level government posts and had been the mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, for over seven years.
The Swiss business magazine Bilanz listed Khrapunov among Switzerland’s 300 richest people with net worth between 300 to 400 million Swiss francs. According to the reports by the Kazakh investigation, Viktor Khrapunov owns multimillion property, including real estate in the US and Canada.
Federal Court of Appeals of California confirms that “the Khrapunovs and their shell companies acquired real estate and luxury cars in the states of California and Florida.”
Since 2012, Kazakhstan has unsuccessfully tried to secure the extradition of Khrapunov from Switzerland where he was granted temporary refugee status. In 2014 Geneva Prosecutor’s Office at the request of Kazakhstan’s judicial authorities opened an investigation into the charges against Khrapunov.
Switzerland, under the signed agreement with Kazakhstan, effectively froze Khrapunov’s assets for the time of the investigation.
Viktor Khrapunov and his family created a website in an effort to convince the public that he fell victim to the regime because of his political activity. Portal http://www.viktor-khrapunov.com/publications/ publishes articles by him and his family members that expose the totalitarian nature of the Kazakh government.