A French judge has ordered Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov to stay in jail for his own safety until his extradition hearing in September. The judge, in a court in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence, said during a hearing that Ablyazov, a critic of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev might not be safe if he were to be freed on bond, Radio France International reported Friday.

 

Bruno Rebstock, Ablyazov's attorney, did not appear to disagree with the ruling.

 

"It's an argument that is rarely used in these contexts," Rebstock said. "So when the judge says, as a first argument, that it was sensitive to the question of Mr. Ablyazov's security it's clear that his safety must be protected -- protected against those who are threatening it. And it's clear that the threat comes from the power of Mr. Nazarbayev."

 

Ablyazov was arrested in July on a warrant from Ukraine. He is wanted there, as well in Russia and Kazakhstan, on charges of embezzling more than $6 billion from a bank he ran in Kazakhstan.

 

Ablyazov has denied the charges, which he maintains are politically motivated.

 

He and Nazarbayev were allies until Ablyazov created an opposition political party in 2002.

 

France does not have an extradition treaty with Kazakhstan.

 

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