Russian asylum-seeker extradited from South Korea for Al-Qaeda links

Fighters loyal to Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its allies walk carrying weapons in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 28, 2015. (AFP)
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Updated 17 March 2020

Russian asylum-seeker extradited from South Korea for Al-Qaeda links

  • The man was found to be an ‘instructor’ of Al-Nusra Front
  • Korean police acted on an Interpol red notice to detain him

SEOUL: A Russian man who sought asylum in South Korea was deported on charges of having links to Al-Qaeda, Korean police confirmed on Monday.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, the Ukraine-born Russian national was arrested in December and extradited in January.
He was found to be an “instructor” of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front group operating in Syria.
Korean police acted on an Interpol red notice to detain the man, who was already wanted in Russia.
“Police obtained intelligence that an Al-Qaeda instructor had sneaked into South Korea to apply for refugee status,” a police spokesman said.
“With the help of the Federal Security Service in Russia, we identified and arrested the suspect to hand him over to the Russian government.”
He added that the militant had fled to South Korea in November 2016 and sought asylum twice — in 2017 and 2019.
The application was rejected both times.
The arrest raises concerns that more terrorists from former Soviet republics, especially in Central Asia, may be operating in the country, some of them under the guise of seeking asylum.

Suspect
In November, a Kazakhstani worker was arrested by South Korean authorities for financing a terrorist group in Central Asia.
The suspect, in his 20s, entered the country in 2016 and had been staying illegally without a visa, according to police.
The man was accused of having transferred about $1,000 to a terrorist group.
He was the first foreigner to be arrested for breaching South Korea’s act for countering the financing of terrorism, which was enforced in 2017.
In February last year, a UN Security Council report warned that terrorists operating in Central Asia would try to enter South Korea, which has a large community of migrants from the region. Most of them originate from Uzbekistan.
“Many ethnic Uzbeks request deportation from Turkey to the Republic of Korea, where the total number of Uzbeks is estimated to be between 20,000 and 30,000,” the report said. “Some Uzbek migrant workers in the Republic of Korea are reported to have been radicalized and to be a source of financing for the travel of extremists to the Syrian Arab Republic.”  

 


Top Kazakh family wins court ruling on London mansions

Updated 11 min 41 sec ago

Top Kazakh family wins court ruling on London mansions

  • Evidence that Dariga Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev had founded the companies that owned the properties and provided the funds to purchase them
  • Properties located across London, including one on a wealthy street known as Billionaires’ Row and another which campaign group Transparency International says is worth £31m

LONDON: The daughter and grandson of a former Kazakhstan president won a British court ruling Wednesday over plans to seize three multimillion-pound London properties from the family.
The UK’s National Crime Agency had obtained unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) against the luxury properties, said to be worth a total of around £80 million ($96 million), last May.
UWOs, brought into force in January 2018 under so-called “McMafia laws” — named after a BBC organized crime drama — allows the NCA to seize assets if they believe the owner is a “politically exposed person” and unable to explain the source of their wealth.
The NCA said the properties’ purchases were funded by Rakhat Aliyev, a former senior member of the Kazakh government who died in an Austrian prison in 2015 while awaiting trial on two charges of murder.
However, in a High Court judgment, given remotely, judge Beverley Lang overturned all three UWOs, ruling that “the NCA’s assumption” that Aliyev was the source of the funds to purchase the three properties was “unreliable.”
The ultimate beneficial owners of the three properties — Aliyev’s ex-wife, Dariga Nazarbayeva, the current chairwoman of the senate in Kazakhstan and daughter of former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, and her son, Nurali Aliyev — had applied to the High Court to discharge the UWOs.
The judge added that there was “cogent evidence” that Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev had founded the companies that owned the properties and provided the funds to purchase them.
Following the ruling, Nurali Aliyev said the NCA had carried out a “flawed investigation.”
“The NCA deliberately ignored the relevant information I voluntarily provided and pursued a groundless and vicious legal action, including making shocking slurs against me, my family and my country,” he said in a statement.
“Today we have been vindicated.”
The properties were located across London, including one on a wealthy street known as “Billionaires’ Row” and another which campaign group Transparency International says is worth £31 million.
A Nazarbayeva representative said the court decision left her “entirely vindicated” and showed she had “not been involved in any wrongdoing.”
“Dr. Nazarbayeva is also deeply disappointed that the NCA thought it appropriate to use the cloak of these court proceedings to make damaging attacks on her reputation and her country, unfairly insulting Dr. Nazarbayeva and her 18 million compatriots.”