Ablyazov may have already fled: BTA Bank's barrister 20 февраля 2012, 12:43
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Mukhtar Ablyazov. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Former chairman of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov sentenced to 22 months in prison by London’s High Court for contempt of court might have fled already, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports.
“We fear he may be in the process of fleeing if he has not done so already,” The Financial Times cites BTA Bank’s barrister Stephen Smith. “We have always felt he would flee rather than face the consequences,” he added.
Last Thursday London’s High Court sentenced Ablyazov to 22 months in prison for contempt of court. This ruling was made on the motion on contempt of court filed by BTA Bank. The defendant did not attend the hearing.
“He must be taken into custody immediately,” judge Nigel Teare said. The judge said that he "does not doubt that Ablyazov deliberately violated the court's orders" and that he saw no alternative to "imprisonment in this situation".
BTA Bank filed a claim asking to arrest Mukhtar Ablyazov on May 16, 2011. These motions and the hearings are part of the trial against the ex-banker Ablyazov to recover the assets that were embezzled by him and his associates.
The bank accuses Ablyazov of managing his assets despite of the court order to freeze them and the receivership made by the British court, misled the court regarding his properties and gave false testimonies. BTA Bank filed this lawsuit to prevent further plundering of the assets.
BTA Bank that defaulted with a $12 billion debt filed several claims to the British Court against Ablyazov and former chairman of BTA Roman Solodchenko. The bank claims that they were siphoning off the bank’s money by extending false loans. Ablyazov and Solodchenko escaped to London and are denying all the charges. Ablyazov also says that he has never violated the assets freezing order.
So far BTA Bank has filed 9 claims against Ablyazov and his associates for the total amount of $5 billion.
Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank was nationalized and its former owner Ablyazov was released from his office and then put on the international wanted list. Criminal cases were initiated against several former heads of the bank in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan over embezzlement of funds.
BTA Bank is currently working with legal and financial consultants to restore the collateral property base and maximize recovery of illegally siphoned off assets.