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Kyrgyz party accuses prime minister of taking horse as bribe

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Aug. 13, 2012, 2:02 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev shakes hands with Kyrgyz counterpart Omurbek Babanov, right, during a meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.
© AP

Associated Press

Associated Press

BISHKEK — A party in Kyrgyzstan's fragile ruling coalition has accused the prime minister of granting government contracts in exchange for a racehorse.

The Ata-Meken party said Monday, Aug. 13, they would seek to pass a no-confidence motion in parliament against Omurbek Babanov, possibly fueling political instability in the turbulent Central Asian nation.

Party deputy Zhoomart Saparbayev said a company that secured a building contract at the country's main airport imported the horse, valued at between $500,000 and $1.5 million, without paying import duties. The party says it has learned the horse now belongs to Babanov.

The airport hosts a U.S. military base serving as a key hub for operations in Afghanistan.

Babanov's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The premier has staked his reputation on fighting graft in the corruption-ridden ex-Soviet nation.

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