Ex-presidents of Kyrgyzstan put on international wanted list

Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Askar Akayev

Former presidents of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev have been put on the international wanted list. Law enforcement agencies are investigating the involvement of the ex-presidents in signing agreements with Canadian companies in the case of the Kumtor gold mine.

TASS agency reports with reference to head of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (SCNS) Kamchybek Tashiyev.

– Former presidents Akayev and Bakiyev have been put on the wanted list following the investigation of the Kumtor case, – said the head of the SCNS.

Tashiyev also added at a press conference that several former high-ranking officials are also suspected of corruption in the gold mine case.

Among them are ex-prime ministers Apas Zhumagulov, Omurbek Babanov and Igor Chudinov, as well as brother of former head of state Sooronbai Jeenbekov, ex-speaker of parliament Asylbek Jeenbekov and Bakiev’s youngest son, Maxim Bakiyev.

In the 1990s, foreign investors began developing the Kumtor gold mine in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan. In May 2021, Kyrgyz authorities suspended Centerra Gold, Canadian mining company, from managing the mine. After that, the sides began legal proceedings.

Askar Akayev headed Kyrgyzstan from 1991 to 2005 and lost power after a coup. Akayev now lives in Moscow.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who headed the country from 2005-2010, was also deposed during a revolution. Bakiyev was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for a number of crimes. He is currently in Belarus.