Chechen ex-football club owner faces expulsion

Chechen ex-football club owner faces expulsion
Bulat Chagaev. Photo: AFP/Fabrice Coffrini/File
Bulat Chagaev, the Chechen businessman charged with dishonest management at the bankrupt Neuchâtel football club he once owned, faces being expelled from Switzerland, according to media reports.

Chagaev, who left a reported debt of 30 million francs with the Neuchâtel Xamax club,  is living in a villa in Saint-Sulpice in the canton of Vaud.

Last weekend, Pierre Aubert, the chief prosecutor of Neuchâtel  told the newspapers L’Express and L’Impartial that he did not need the presence of Chagaev to conclude his investigation into the Chechen’s role in Xamax’s bankruptcy.

Aubert added that it was unlikely that Chagaev, who was released on bail last May, would serve any prison time, given that he had already spent four months in custody.

Now, Vaud cabinet minister Philippe Leuba has written to Neuchâtel authorities to clarify  the situation.

Leuba suggested indirectly that the Vaud cantonal government was prepared to expel Chagaev, who no longer possesses a valid Swiss residency permit, Le Matin reported on Thursday.

The Vaud government wrote on Tuesday to Neuchâtel justice authoritorities “to assure ourselves that the presence of Mr. Chagaev is no longer necessary,” the newspaper reported him saying.

“And, if need be, to ensure the normal treatment of his file,” Leuba said.

“There will be no special treatment.”

Neuchâtel’s Aubert confirmed to Le Matin that if federal immigration authorities asked him if Chagaev’s presence in the country was necessary, “I would say, no.”

The prosecutor said it was just necessary to guarantee Chagaev’s safe passage for his trial, which is not expected to take place until 2014.

For his part, Chagaev, whose business visa has expired, has made various requests for a residency permit.

And his lawyer said he wanted to remain in Switzerland until the end of his legal procedure “to defend his tarnished honour”.

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