London High Court freezes more assets of former BTA bank chairman
ASTANA, February 26 - RAPSI. The High Court of Justice in London has issued orders prohibiting further assets belonging to former board chairman of the Kazakhstan-based BTA bank Mukhtar Ablyazov from undergoing any transactions.
The internet domains Kplus-tv.net, stan.tv, and Respublika-kz.com, as well as Muratbek Ketebayev, the nominal holder of some of Ablyazov's assets, have been added to the existing list of 28 companies the court had ordered to freeze.
The case against Ablyazov was opened 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. Ablyazov fled the country to the UK.
He believes the charges against him are politically motivated. Kazakhstan seeks his extradition for large-scale fraud which involved draining the bank's funds using dummy companies.
In 2009, the bank filed the lawsuits against Ablyazov to return assets worth billions of dollars, which it believes were stolen by Ablyazov when he chaired the bank's board of directors.
Russia also 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.
Ablyazov lost his appeals over the two main rulings of the Court. The first ruling on February 16, 2012 sentenced him to 22 months in prison in absentia for contempt of court. In November 2012,the London Court of Appeals upheld this ruling.
The sentence has never been enforced, however, because Ablyazov's whereabouts remain unknown.
The second High Court of Justice in London ruling ordered Ablyazov to give himself up to the authorities and to disclose his assets in full.
Otherwise, he would be prohibited from defending his case in the bank's eight lawsuits against him worth over $6 billion.