Public prosecutor's office opens judicial investigation into Astana Qazaqstan's license holder

Abacanto SA has held the WorldTour team's license since 2010, but is being charged with violations of the Luxembourg criminal code

Astana Qazaqstan license holders judicial investigation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The public prosecutor's office in Luxembourg has opened a judicial investigation into Astana Qazaqstan's license holder and paying agent, Abacanto SA, 

Kazakhstan newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda is reporting that Abacanto SA is being charged with violations under article 140 of the Luxembourg criminal code, which includes: "the forgery of documents, misuse of corporate assets, breach of trust, money laundering, and fraud". The charge relates to "unidentified persons" at the company. 

Abacanto SA has held the license of Astana Qazaqstan since 2010, but a civil case against the paying agent opened in January 2021, with the company's Luxembourg office raided and documents seized as part of the investigation process. 

A statement issued by the Luxembourg Judicial Administration spokesperson Henri Eippers to VeloNewsand WielerFlits confirmed the judicial investigation into Abacanto SA. 

Eippers said: "The public prosecutor's office in Luxembourg confirms that a judicial investigation has been opened following a complaint with civil action lodged for facts that were allegedly committed within the framework of the Luxembourg company Abacanto SA and are likely to constitute offences.

"In view of the ongoing investigation, the public prosecutor's office does not intend to provide any further information on this case."

Several witnesses involved in the case are currently being heard by the Luxembourg district court, which will try to ascertain the offences and involvement of certain individuals. 

Komsomolskaya Pravda is reporting that Astana Qazaqstan's general manager Alexander Vinokourov is a suspect in the trial, with VeloNews also reporting that a letter sent from the Service de Police Judiciare on July 8 2021 states that: “For reasons of secrecy of investigation we cannot tell you all of the steps that we will be taking but some of these steps include the hearing of persons likely to be involved in the said infringement, including among others Mr Vinokourov Alexander.”

However, Vinokourov told VeloNewson Wednesday that he the team wasn't aware of the investigation, and has distanced himself from the situation.

He said: “Apparently, we are talking about some kind of legal procedure that was initiated a year ago, when another person was the managing director of Abacanto S.A., while I performed purely sports functions until the summer of 2021. Officially, after a break, I returned to work with the team in January 2022, so it’s difficult for me to comment something on this issue.”

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