Ablyazov's hidden assets to be revealed11 august 2014, 19:12
London’s High Court has granted the motion of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank that asked the judge to order the lawyers of the bank’s fugitive ex-head Mukhtar Ablyazov to disclose information about his assets, Tengrinews reports citing The Lawyer.
The scale of the information that Ablyazov's lawyers - three firm that have been representing the Kazakh banker - are required to disclose is huge: Clyde & Co has 73.3 thousand electronic documents and 182 boxes of paper documents to disclose, Stephenson Harwood has 1 million electronic documents and 580 boxes of paper documentation, and Addleshaw Goddard has 40 Gb of electronic information and almost 2.7 thousands of paper files to disclose. The cost of the disclosure of over 500,000 emails and 40GB of electronic data that the three firms have accumulated during five years of the BTA vs. Ablyazov litigation is estimated at 2.5 million pounds.
BTA bank's lawyers believe this information will shed some light on the real scope of Ablyazov’s assets. According to the trial transcript, this information was protected by attorney-client privilege. There is an exception, however, though extermely rare in the English legal practice, that the protection does not apply if lawyers are used by their client as a tool to commit fraud.
High Court Judge Andrew Popplewell agreed with BTA Bank that Ablyazov could have been deliberately misleading his lawyers about his assets and transactions.
A few years ago the Court ordered Mukhtar Ablyazov to disclose all his assets and find them an independent manager. The banker declared that he had complied with the order. However, as it turned out, he kept back information about several of his properties. The Court found that Ablyazov owned Carlton House, a 9-bedroom mansion in London, worth about £15 million, Oaklands Park estate worth an estimated £20 million, as well as a number of other assets (including Eurasia Logistics Ltd company).
The Court also ordered the lawyers to disclose information about the assets of Ablyazov’s relative Syrym Shalabayev, who was directly involved in managing the hidden assets.
Kazakhstan accuses Mukhtar Ablyazov of fraud totaling over $6 billion. The tycoon is wanted in Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. He was granted political asylum in the UK in 2011, the country he left in a year, fleeing the English justice. In July 2013, he was arrested in France. A French court decided to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov to either Russia or Ukraine, but the extradition case was sent for a retrial after some errors were discovered in the court documents (some of them were missing Ablyazov's signature). The hearings are scheduled for September 2014.
By Dinara Urazova