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31 Май 2021

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty's Kyrgyz Service

Kyrgyzstan: Former PM detained in Kumtor gold-mine corruption investigation

"Former Kyrgyz PM Detained In Gold-Mine Investigation", 31 May 2021

Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov has been detained as part of an investigation into corruption during the development of the Kumtor gold-mine project...The State Committee for National Security said on May 31 that Babanov was detained on the basis of evidence obtained during the investigation. It did not give any details of the evidence.

The giant Kumtor gold project has been the focus of international attention in recent months after the government moved to temporarily take over operations at the mine -- which is run by Canada's Centerra Gold -- for what President Sadyr Japarov said was a necessary move to remedy environmental and safety violations.

According to a new law approved on May 14, the government can take control for up to three months of any company that operates under a concession agreement in Kyrgyzstan if that firm violates environmental regulations, endangers the local environment or lives of people, or causes other significant damage.

Centerra's Kyrgyz subsidiary, Kumtor Gold Company (KGC), Kyrgyzstan's biggest taxpayer, is the only firm in the former Soviet republic that operates under a concession agreement...Canada, Britain, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have all criticized Kyrgyzstan's moves against Centerra.