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16 Aug 2021

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Kyrgyzstan: Additional former PM detained in corruption probe targeted at Centerra's Kumtor gold-mine

"Another Kyrgyz Ex-PM Detained Amid Growing Kumtor Mine Investigation", 3 August 2021

Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariev has been arrested as part of a widening investigation into alleged corruption during the development of the Kumtor gold-mine project.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) says Sariev was detained for 48 hours on August 3 on corruption charges ahead of a court decision on pretrial custody.

...Kumtor has been a target of financial and environmental disagreements for years, and is currently the subject of an ongoing battle for control between the Kyrgyz state and the mine's operator, Canadian Centerra Gold.

The Kyrgyz government has temporarily taken over control of the mine in what President Sadyr Japarov has called a necessary move to address environmental and safety violations...Centerra has called Kyrgyzstan's actions "wrongful and illegal."

Several former top officials have been arrested in connection with the case in recent months, including former Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov, Deputy Prime Minister Taiyrbek Sarpashev, and former and current lawmakers.