Statement in Response to Media Reports That a Decree has Been Issued for Mukhtar Ablyazov’s Extradition12.10.2015 18:00:58
Paris, 12 October 2015 - BTA Bank has hailed the French Prime Minister's decision, reported in the French media, to issue a decree for the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia. This follows successive French court judgements in favor of extradition. The decision represents an important moment in the Bank's efforts to recover billions of dollars which were misappropriated by Mr Ablyazov during his tenure as Chairman of the Bank.
The Bank has won judgments against Mr Ablyazov from the English High Court worth over $4bn as part of its asset recovery process.
A BTA Bank spokesperson said:
"BTA Bank applauds the Prime Minister's decision as a crucial step towards forcing Mr Ablyazov to face justice for the billions of dollars that he stole from the Bank. We commend the French legal process, which has carefully considered all the arguments and maintained repeatedly that Mr Ablyazov should be extradited. His detention and extradition will assist the Bank's efforts to enforce judgments and limit Mr Ablyazov's ability to conceal and dissipate the assets that we are entitled to recover."
The BTA Bank spokesperson added:
"The decisions of the Lyon Court of Appeal, the French Supreme Court, and now the Prime Minister once again underlines the legitimacy of the Bank's case. Mr Ablyazov stole more than $6bn from BTA Bank and he is running out of options to avoid being held to account."
Notes to Editors:
- BTA Bank launched global legal proceedings against Mr Ablyazov in 2009 after accountants at PwC identified a massive hole - more than $10 billion - in the Bank's balance sheets which led to the discovery of a large-scale fraud committed by Mukhtar Ablyazov while he was Chairman of the Bank.
- The Bank undertook a restructuring process which was agreed by creditors in 2009 and again in 2012. Lazard Freres was the Bank's financial advisor in the restructuring.
- The asset recovery process was agreed and undertaken as part of the restructuring and involved legal action against Mukhtar Ablyazov. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8b243288-6f72-11df-9f43-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2bHSOrhvG
- The most comprehensive legal proceedings are 11 claims filed by BTA Bank in the English High Court seeking to recover more than $6 billion in assets misappropriated by Mr Ablyazov. The Bank has secured numerous judgments for in excess of $4 billion against Mr Ablyazov and others and is in the process of seeking to enforce those judgments against assets currently held in receivership.
- In February 2012, the Bank secured an English High Court judgment, subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal, to commit Mr Ablyazov to 22 months in prison for contempt of court. Rather than abide by the court's ruling, he fled the UK and became a fugitive from justice. http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2012/237.html&query=BTA+and+Bank&method=boolean
In November 2012, The UK Court of Appeal unanimously
upheld the conviction of Ablyazov. Lord Justice Maurice Kay said: "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". http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1411.html&query=BTA+and+Bank&method=boolean
- After Mr Ablyazov fled the UK in February 2012 in
violation of court orders, BTA Bank sought to locate him and eventually traced
him to southern France.
- BTA Bank provided information about Mr Ablyazov's whereabouts to French authorities who acted promptly to arrest him based on an Interpol "Red Notice" concerning frauds committed against the bank.
- Mr Ablyazov was arrested 31 July 2013 in France and is being held there in custody. He has been refused bail by the French courts three times on the basis that he is likely to flee France if released on bail.
- On 26 November 2013, Mr Justice Henderson ruled that Mr Ablyazov had misappropriated a further US$300 million in AAA-rated investment bonds from the Bank in 2008. In assessing the case, the Judge concluded that Mr Ablyazov's defence to the Bank's claims was variously "implausible", "untenable" and "frankly incredible". Mr Ablyazov defended these claims, but the judge found against him. http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2013/3691.html&query=BTA+and+Bank+and+v+and+Ablyazov&method=boolean
- On 9 January 2014, The Court in Aix-en-Provence granted both the Russian and Ukrainian requests to extradite Mr Ablyazov. However, the decision was annulled by the Court of Appeal in April because of a procedural error made by the court. The case was sent for re-trial in the Court of Lyon.
- On 24 October 2014, The Court of Lyon granted both Russia and Ukraine's requests to extradite Mr Ablyazov. Mr Ablyazov once again appealed the decision.
- On 4 March 2015, the French Supreme Court upheld the earlier ruling by the Court of Lyon to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia or Ukraine.
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