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Italy welcomes back deported wife of Kazakh tycoon

Italy welcomes back deported wife of Kazakh tycoon
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Italy has welcomed back the wife of Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old daughter were deported from Italy to Kazakhstan in May – whipping up a political storm.

Italian opposition politicians and human rights campaigners criticised the government for expelling them – amid reports that it had happened under pressure from Kazakh officials.

On returning to Rome, a smiling Shalabayeva told reporters: “I want to meet with my husband, I want to visit him as much as possible. I miss him very much, like all my children.”

Ablyazov was arrested in France in July and remains in custody there, facing possible extradition.

The businessman is wanted in Kazakhstan over embezzlement charges. He is accused of siphoning off to 4.5 billion euros from BTA – the bank he used to run, which is now state-controlled.

Ablyazov – who has been a vocal critic of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev – says the charges against him are politically motivated.