Missing ex-BTA Bank chairman loses final debarment appeal
LONDON, February 26 - RAPSI. The UK Supreme Court has rejected former BTA Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov’s last-chance appeal of a judgment prohibiting him from defending himself against BTA Bank’s claims due to serious contempt of the court and failure to turn himself into British authorities, according to a copy of the order obtained by RAPSI Tuesday.
Notably, an appeal representing his interests has been filed by Ablyazov’s attorneys although the man himself remains missing in action.
According to the order, Ablyazov’s appeal failed to “raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time.”
The court further ordered Ablyazov to pay BTA’s legal costs in connection with the appeal.
BTA Bank Managing Director Pavel Prosyankin lauded the decision in a statement issued Tuesday: ““Today’s decision marks the end of Mr Ablyazov’s legal manoeuvring and will expedite the enforcement of the significant judgments we have won. The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces the Bank’s ability to start to reverse the processes by which Mr Ablyazov fraudulently diverted assets from the Bank. We remain committed to the process to help restore the Bank’s financial standing which was devastated by Mr Ablyazov’s actions.” [sic.]
BTA’s case against Ablyazov was launched in early 2009 after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA and the bank came under the control of its Samruk-Kazyna Sovereign Fund. Its by-then former chairman Ablyazov fled the country at that point, heading to the UK.
Since then, BTA Bank has filed 11 claims against its former chairman, totaling approximately $6 billion.
On February 16, 2012, London’s High Court of Justice handed three 22-month sentences down having found him in contempt of court. The three sentences arose from his failure to disclose his assets, his failure to cease dealing with his assets, and his failure to repatriate any inappropriately disposed of assets.
The presiding judge further charged that Ablyazov had lied under oath in a “remarkable and brazen” manner, according to BTA Bank’s Tuesday press release.
In November of that same year, an appellate court upheld this ruling, noting: “It is difficult to imagine a party to commercial litigation who has acted with more cynicism, opportunism and deviousness towards court orders than Mr Ablyazov.”
A default judgment in the amount of $2 billion was then issued against Ablyazov.
The sentence has not yet been enforced as Ablyazov’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Ablyazov has consistently maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated.
Kazakhstan seeks his extradition for large-scale fraud which involved draining the bank's funds using shell companies, ultimately causing billions of dollars in damages.
Russia too launched criminal proceedings against Ablyazov. In October 2010, a Moscow district court issued an arrest warrant for him in absentia on charges of large-scale fraud.