Kyrgyzstan's ex-premier arrested on corruption charges

06 Jun 2018 / 18:37 H.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan's former prime minister Sapar Isakov was arrested on corruption charges Tuesday, the national security service said, as political divisions in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation deepen.
Isakov, 40, was detained after being questioned for a fourth time in relation to his role in securing investment into a power plant in the capital Bishkek whilst serving in the administration of then president Almazbek Atambayev, the GKNB security service said.
Isakov is accused of lobbying in the interest of Chinese company TBEA to modernise the vital power plant that later broke down as temperatures plunged in January.
But many local analysts have argued that the investigations targeting Isakov and other formerly high-ranking Kyrgyz politicians may have more to do with the country's turbulent domestic politics than the rule of law.
Isakov is widely viewed as a protege of Atambayev, who was barred by the nation's constitution from running for re-election last year.
Another former Atambayev ally, Kubanychbek Kulmatov, who served as the capital's mayor from 2014 to 2016, was also held Tuesday in a separate investigation linked to the power plant investment.
While Atambayev was succeeded by Sooronbai Jeenbekov last November in the first peaceful transfer of power between elected presidents since the country of six million gained independence from Moscow in 1991, tensions have mounted as Atambayev has pushed to retain influence.
Jeenbekov's office said Monday that corruption investigations into the power plant corruption deal would not affect relations with top lender and neighbour China. — AFP

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