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USA disappointed at release of organized crime boss Raimbek Matraimov

The United States expressed its disappointment at the release of organized crime boss Raimbek Matraimov. U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic issued a statement.

The diplomatic mission reminds that Matraimov is the subject of U.S. State Department and Treasury Department Global Magnitsky and visa sanctions for his participation in a corrupt customs scheme in which at least $700 million was laundered from the Kyrgyz Republic, funds which could have been used by the Kyrgyz government for priorities such as health care, education, agriculture, and pensions.

«The United States remains committed to freezing his criminal assets overseas and returning them to the Kyrgyz people,» the statement says.

Cooperation between U.S. and Kyrgyz law enforcement officials to combat organized crime and corruption is ongoing.

«In relation to Matraimov, we are working together with Kyrgyz law enforcement to identify properties and financial interests owned by Matraimov that could be frozen under the requirements of the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The 2019 return by the United States of $4.5 million of Maksim Bakiev’s corrupt money is evidence of U.S. commitment to fight corruption and return stolen assets to the Kyrgyz people,» the statement says.

The former deputy head of the State Customs Service, Raiymbek Matraimov, was detained on February 18. The Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek chose a preventive measure for him in the form of detention in a remand prison of the State Committee for National Security for two months. He is charged with money laundering. The former customs officer complained about deterioration of his health in a prison cell, and he was hospitalized in the private clinic. He stayed there for over a month.

In October 2020, the national security bodies of Kyrgyzstan began pre-trial proceedings on the fact of corruption at the customs. It was found out that since the beginning of 2016 to the present the former deputy chairman of the Customs Service Raiymbek Matraimov, other officials of the state service and controlled participants of the foreign economic activity established a corruption scheme on extraction of shadow incomes during customs administration, as a result of which the state budget was damaged on an especially large scale.