An employee of KGL Investment Company in Kuwait, Lazareva was accused of embezzlement and sentenced to ten years hard labour imprisonment in May 2018.
Her story has more twists and turns than the average John Grisham novel, with her conviction successfully appealed in May this year after it was found that the evidence against her was fake and the funds of nearly half a billion dollars she was accused of embezzling were actually frozen in a Dubai bank. In addition to the courtroom dramatics, her case has attracted some of the most prominent international legal minds and political supporters in the world.
Attending the court hearing last week to give evidence on Lazareva’s behalf was Louis Freeh, an American attorney and former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) between 1993 and 2001. Freeh presented a four-page affidavit in which he outlined new evidence that had emerged in the last six months, which he said has yet to be considered by the court or Kuwait’s attorney general.
Her links to both the US and Russia have helped her attract some big name figures from both superpowers, including Ed Royce, the former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; James Nicholson, the former Ambassador to the Vatican and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Pam Bondi, the former Attorney General for the State of Florida; Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Tatyana Yumasheva, daughter of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and co-founder of the Yeltsin Centre. On the American side, Politico magazine reports that KGL Investment Company and the Port Fund, an investment fund it manages, spent around $2.5m in the first quarter of 2019 hiring Washington DC-based lobbyists to help try and secure Lazareva’s release.
In addition to Freeh, some of the high profile Americans working on the case include Brian Ballard, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s campaign, and Neil Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush. Lazareva was released on bail in mid-June, her KD1m ($3.29m) bail having been paid by an unnamed Kuwaiti supporter, in addition to the KD11m ($36.3m) previously paid by her supporters. Another employee of KGL, Saeed Dashti – whose embezzlement convictions were also lifted – remains in jail as he was unable to raise his bail money.
From Arabianbusiness.com YouTube Channel