Kazakh Authorities Blame Fugutive Banker for Foiled Terror Plot

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 5:40 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Kazakhstan say they have thwarted a plot to carry out terrorist bomings planned for last Saturday in the commercial capital, Almaty

The general prosecutor's office is giving few details on how it uncovered the plot. It blames associates of fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov

The alleged terrorists would have set off bombs in city parks and government buildings. Prosecutors say the plot was aimed at scaring the population, creating chaos and panic and destabilizing the socio-political situation.

Ablyazov is a fierce opponent of Kazakhstan's long-time president Nursultan Nazarbayev. The former banker fled to London in 2009 to avoid embezzlement charges. Last month in London, he was sentenced to 22 months in prison for contempt of court. He fled before imprisonment and his whereabouts are unknown.

Terrorism, violence, and public protests are rare in Kazakhstan, despite Mr. Nazarbayev's autocratic rule and intolerance for the opposition.

Many Kazakhs enjoy a higher standard of living than most other Central Asian neighbors because of the country's oil wealth.