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Ablyazov will spend 22 months in British prison 17 февраля 2012, 16:58

The High Court of England has sentenced the former chairman of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov to 22 months in prison for contempt of court.
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Mukhtar Ablyazov. Vesti.kz stock photo Mukhtar Ablyazov. Vesti.kz stock photo
The High Court of England has sentenced the former chairman of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov to 22 months in prison for contempt of court, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports. The ruling was made on the motion for contempt of court filed by BTA Bank, the plaintiff’s representatives said. Earlier the court found Ablyazov guilty on all three counts of the motion for contempt of court filed by the bank. “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 sees no alternative to "imprisonment in this situation". “I take it into consideration that it will be more difficult for him to deal with the legal part of the continuing trial, but this is the result of his own actions,” Teare said. The court decided to sentence Ablyazov to 22 months in prison, the near maximum prison term in such cases (24 months would have been the ceiling). However, according to the British legislation, Ablyazov may spend 12 only months in prison and be pardoned after that if he immediately starts to comply with the court orders. The ex-banker did not arrive to court saying that it was "not in his best interests". His lawyer Duncan Matthews passed his words. First deputy chairman of BTA Bank Nikolay Varenko is happy with the court’s decision. “We welcome this important step forward in the assets recovery process and the trial against Mr.Ablyazov. We believe that his imprisonment will limit his abilities to sell the assets and will impel him to return the assets that he has already illegally sold and disclose the assets he has hidden from the bank. This decision has to be a signal for Mr. Ablyazov’s associates that the full force of law will be persuaded to ensure court’s orders are obeyed,” Varenko said. “The fact that Mr. Ablyazov disobeyed the judge’s order to be present at the hearing today will not stop the bank from working to return the assets to the bank’s creditors and shareholders. On the contrary, this behavior of his will help the bank to complete the process earlier than expected,” he stressed. Varenko also noted that “the sentences imposed by the judge reflect the very serious nature of Ablyazov's misconduct, as well as the lies told and documents forged to try to hide assets and dealings from the bank”. 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.

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