BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Kyrgyzstan lifted its ban on international adoptions of its orphans that was put in place last year after a corruption scandal, officials said Saturday.
The Central Asian nation imposed the temporary ban after it was discovered that former Social Development Ministry Ravshan Sabirov extorted $20,000 from a foreign adoption firm, RIA Novosti reported.
About 18 Kyrgyz children were adopted by Italian parents under the Sabirov's scheme, which bypassed necessary legal procedures for adoptions, prosecutors said at Sabirov's trial last year.
Sabirov was sentenced to five years in prison for the scheme.
On Saturday, the Social Development Ministry said the ban on foreign adoption had been lifted, but that rules for adoption had been changed and that punishment for adoption-related fraud had been increased.