Dzhakishev gets 14 Years for Embezzlement

    A Kazakh court convicted Mukhtar Dzhakishev, a former president of state-run nuclear energy company Kazatomprom, of embezzlement and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
    Dzhakishev went on trial in January, charged with stealing 99.8 million tenge (about $679,000) during the opening of the Kazatomprom’s representative office in Vienna.
    He was ousted as head of the company last May and later arrested on suspicion of embezzling state shares in uranium deposits, including one co- owned by Canada’s Uranium One Inc., by transferring them to offshore companies. An investigation into the charge continues.
    In addition to the 14-year prison sentence, Dzhakishev was barred from holding a government job for seven years, his lawyer Nurlan Beisekeyev said by telephone from Astana today. The trial was closed to the public. Dzhakishev denies the charges and plans to appeal the verdict, Beisekeyev said.
    Earlier this month, Dzhakishev said his trial was rigged and that the court was preventing him from mounting a proper defense. “It’s obvious that I can’t count on getting justice in my own country, and that my fate has been decided in advance,” he told the judge at the time.
    Under Dzhakishev, Kazatomprom planned to make Kazakhstan the world’s largest uranium producer in 2009 as it sought to expand to nuclear power generation and power-plant construction. Kazakhstan said in December it had achieved the goal by overtaking Canada and Australia. The former Soviet republic accounts for 15 percent of world uranium reserves.
    Kazakhstan chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe this year, according to Bloomberg.