Rakhat Aliyev, the former son-in-law of Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, has described as “blatantly false” the allegation that he had bribed anyone, including Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, to obtain a residence permit in Malta.
It is not the first time that Euractiv has issued misinformation on my client
He said the €150,000 being mentioned on EU news portal Euractiv.com is the amount claimed by his former lawyer, Pio Valletta, to obtain the residence permit from the Maltese authorities.
Through his lawyer Joe Giglio, Dr Aliyev insisted with The Sunday Times that the Kazakh secret service was involved in “twisting facts” in a “devious manner”.
Dr Borg, who on Tuesday faces the European Parliament’s grilling session in his bid to become Malta’s new European Health Commissioner, has already denounced the bribery allegations, saying they were “absolutely preposterous”.
Dr Borg had told The Times he had never met Dr Aliyev, which was confirmed by the former Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Austria.
Dr Aliyev has been living in Malta since 2010. He faces accusations by the Kazakh regime of human rights abuse and torture and of involvement in the murder of two bankers.
Several requests for Dr Aliyev to be extradited to Kazakhstan from Austria have been rejected by the Austrian courts on the premise that the accusations were politically motivated.
Dr Aliyev denies the charges and claims he is a victim of the politically repressive state.
Dr Giglio said the issue which led to the Euroactiv report stemmed from a civil case instituted by Dr Aliyev and his wife Elnara against their former lawyer, Dr Valletta.
It concerns a transfer of around €700,000 from a bank account which Dr Valletta held in Mr Aliyev’s name to the lawyer’s personal bank account.
Mr Aliyev also wrote to the Commission for the Administration of Justice demanding an investigation into the fees and also reported the matter to the police.
Dr Valletta maintained that the sum was due for services rendered but eventually the two reached an agreement in which he agreed to return part of the sum.
In one of the bills sent to Dr Aliyev, Dr Valletta asked for €150,000 to obtain the residence permit. He said this had been difficult when police flagged the former diplomat on account of an Interpol alert that had been issued against the Kazakh.
Dr Giglio said the Interpol alert had been issued at the request of the Kazakh regime, and after being duly examined, was removed by Interpol.
The court case was eventually settled and the request for an investigation withdrawn when the two parties reached this settlement.
Dr Giglio said his client contended that the bill was “spun” in such a way to “unjustly” implicate Dr Borg in the matter.
“Why pay a bribe for something that is legally yours? The way the newspaper spun this contested bill is devious, to say the least,” he said.
“It is not the first time that Euractiv issued misinformation on my client. In other instances, two Austrian ministries issued statements denying falsities that were spread.”
Dr Giglio said the allegations were fabricated by the Kazakh secret service in their bid to get back at Dr Aliyev after his fallout with his former father-in-law.
Dr Aliyev also wrote a book on Nazarbayev, Godfather-In-Law, that contains insider stories, allegations and documentation about the man who has been Kazakhstan’s President since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Kazakh authorities have attempted to stop people in the country from reading the book.