World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States said on Saturday it had asked Britain to extradite the arrested son of Kyrgyzstan's fugitive ex-president on fraud charges.
The Kyrgyz president's office said Maxim Bakiyev, son of the country's former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, had been arrested in London on Friday at the request of Kyrgyzstan and the United States.
British police said the 34-year-old Bakiyev had been arrested by extradition officers on the request of U.S. authorities, who want to question him for alleged involvement in fraud. He had voluntarily visited a police station in central London by appointment.
"The United States has requested the extradition of Mr. Bakiyev from the United Kingdom to face trial in U.S. federal court on serious charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and obstruction of justice," the U.S. embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek said in a statement (bishkek.usembassy.gov).
"If convicted, Mr. Bakiyev could face a lengthy prison sentence."
Ex-president Bakiyev was given shelter by Belarus after crowds of protesters seized his government headquarters in an April 2010 revolt in which about 90 people were killed when security forces opened fire on opposition supporters.
Belarus, run by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, has repeatedly rejected Kyrgyzstan's requests to extradite the former president, who is accused at home of "mass killings" of protesters during the coup.
Maxim Bakiyev, who under his father headed an investment agency, has been accused by the country's new authorities of involvement in large-scale frauds which stripped the impoverished ex-Soviet nation's coffers of millions of dollars.
Kyrgyzstan's ties with Belarus have soured in recent months after Minsk also declined to extradite the ex-president's younger brother Zhanybek, who headed his personal security guard and is also accused of committing mass killings.
Two presidents, including Bakiyev, have been toppled in Kyrgyzstan since 2005. Some 500 people were killed in interethnic violence in June 2010.