Rakhat Aliyev in Malta lives in fear that he will be kidnapped

This story was written by Matthew Vella and originally appeared in MaltaToday.

Rakhat Aliyev 5 Malta's most notorious exile Rakhat Aliyev has spoken out on his sojourn on the island, in a new edition of his autobiography published in Austria earlier last week, reported Malta Today.

In the book 'Crime-scene Austria', the former son-in-law of Kazakhstan dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev claims he remains persecuted by lawyers employed through the offices of the Kazakh government, most recently in an allegation that he had paid the Maltese government €150,000 for his residence permit.

Aliyev, who is married to Austrian citizen Elnara Shorazova, enjoys free movement across the EU but he is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Viennese prosecutor; as well as by various legal teams seeking his prosecution in Malta for crimes against humanity.

"Nazabayev made my life here [in Malta] impossible, thanks to misinformation provided to Maltese newspapers," the former diplomat, and once deputy chief of the Kazahkh secret service, writes in his book.

He cites as an example a question by the European news service Euractiv.com, which had asked the European Commission during a press briefing in November 2012 whether it was informed that Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg had been paid by Aliyev for his residence permit.

The claim, vehemently denied by Borg himself, was an incorrect interpretation of a legal case Aliyev was involved in with his former lawyer, Pio Vassallo, who had charged him €150,000 in legal fees for assisting him in obtaining a permanent residence permit.

Aliyev, convicted in 2008 by a Kazakh court in absentia of commissioning the murder of two bank managers of the Nurbank bank, has lived in exile in Austria (where he served as Kazakhstan's ambassador to the OSCE) and now in Malta since 2010.

He has been questioned several times in the Maltese courts by Viennese prosecutor Bettina Waldner, on the strength of letters-rogatory, in an investigation that Austria launched into the double-murder. The country will not extradite Aliyev to Kazakhstan, where it is believed he cannot have a fair trial.

Aliyev also accuses German and Austrian lawyers fronting a victims' campaign against him as being "in bed with the Kazakh regime".

These include Gabriel Lansky, whose firm represents the widows of the Nurbank bankers; and Lothar de Maiziere, the first (and last) democratically-elected prime minister of East Germany, who represents the former prime minister of Kazakhstan, Akezhan Kazageldin. The latter has asked the Maltese courts to order the police to investigate four complaints he filed against Aliyev, accusing him of torturing two bodyguards to own up to an attempt coup d'etat against Nazarbayev.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is accused by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation of having created a "postmodern dictatorship" that has looted the country of tens of billions of dollars through personal enrichment, while Amnesty International says he controls a system in which torture is still employed.

But despite his human rights record, Nazarbayev also has has some unusual advocates: former German and Austrian Chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Alfred Gusenbauer, and former British and Italian Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Romano Prodi, as well as former Polish President Aleksander Kwaniewski and former German Interior Minister Otto Schily. All of them are members of social democratic parties in their countries.

Gusenbauer, Kwaniewski and Prodi serve officially as members of Nazarbayev's "International Advisory Board", while Blair, also an advisor, receives an annual salary of up to €9 million.

Additionally, Otto Schily has done his utmost to bring to attention the Aliyev case in Austria. Former Austrian Chancellor Gusenbauer, a member of Nazarbayev's advisory board, was the best man at the wedding of Gabriel Lansky, whose legal firm leads the cavalcade to bring Aliyev to justice.

This has opened up Lansky to questions that he is being paid for his services directly from the dictator's coffers. Lansky's team includes a retired director of the Europol law enforcement agency.

Aliyev, as quoted by Der Spiegel, says "it makes perfect sense that Lansky opposes him with every legal trick at his disposal... in the early 1990s, Lansky's law firm represented several companies registered in Austria that were used to lay the foundation for Nazarbayev's fortune."

There is no clear delineation of good and bad in the family feud between Aliyev and Nazarbayev. Aliyev was sentenced in absentia to 40 years in prison for kidnapping and attempting to overthrow the government. He is being investigated by prosecutors in Vienna and the northern German city of Krefeld. Aliyev denies all charges, accusing Nazarbayev of the murder and torture of opposition members, stealing billions and transferring funds to secret accounts abroad.

He told Spiegel that he is willing to appear in Austrian courts but that he fears that he will be kidnapped. "Whenever he senses that someone is following him, he photographs the person and stores the images on a hard drive."