English Court of Appeal Upholds Judgement Sentencing Ablyazov to Prison Expedites BTA Bank Proceedings06.11.2012
London, November 6, 2012 – Former BTA Bank (“the Bank”) Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov today lost his appeal against two major High Court (“the Court”) decisions. One sentenced him to three 22 month prison terms for contempt of court. The other required him to turn himself in to the relevant authorities and make proper disclosure of his assets or forfeit the right to defend eight of the claims against him brought by BTA Bank, with a combined value of over US$6 billion. This victory will help expedite the recovery of assets misappropriated from the Bank by Mr Ablyazov.
Mr Ablyazov fled England after learning in February this year that the English High Court was to send him to prison. On the heels of that judgment, in February 2012, the Bank succeeded in getting the court to issue two ‘Unless’ Orders against Mr Ablyazov. These orders required him to surrender to the English authorities and disclose his assets or forfeit his right to defend the proceedings against him.
Mr Ablyazov appealed against these judgments and the Court of Appeal today upheld Mr Justice Teare’s decision. The Bank will now seek to enter judgment against Mr Ablyazov and commence enforcement against his assets.
BTA Bank launched legal proceedings in 2009 against Mr Ablyazov to recover billions of dollars of assets it alleges were misappropriated from the Bank under his leadership. The claims are worth over US$6 billion, making this one of the largest fraud cases ever heard in the High Court.
Pavel Prosyankin, BTA Bank Managing Director overseeing the asset recovery process and Member of the Management Board of the bank, said:
“We welcome today’s decision upholding the English High Court’s judgment against Mr Ablyazov, requiring him to return to England and serve his prison sentence and finally to reveal all of his assets or forfeit his right to defend the proceedings against him. The Court’s decision against Mr Ablyazov reinforces the Bank’s belief that bringing these proceedings was the most legitimate, transparent, and effective way to recover misappropriated assets, and we remain committed to the process. It is also a ringing endorsement of the allegations of dishonesty that the bank has been pursuing against Mr Ablyazov since 2009.”
Notes to editors:
- The High Court sentenced Mr Ablayzov to three concurrent 22 month sentences on 16 February 2012, finding him in contempt of court for failing to comply with court orders requiring him to fully disclose his assets, cease dealings with assets, and repatriate any assets which were disposed of in breach of the orders.
- Mr Justice Nigel Teare said that Ablyazov had lied on oath in a “remarkable and brazen” manner.
- Mr Ablyazov fled the jurisdiction and was not present at the 16 February hearing.
- On 29 February 2012, Mr Justice Teare ordered that, unless Mr Ablyazov made further disclosure and presents himself to the court staff within seven days, the Bank could seek judgment against him, meaning he would be debarred from defending the claims. Mr Ablyazov did not comply with the Unless Orders.
- The English High Court has also sentenced two of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s associates – brother-in-law Syrym Shalabayev, who is a fugitive in hiding and Paul Kythreotis, who has been sentenced to in prison in Cyprus.
- The Bank has issued nine claims in England against Mr Ablyazov (and others) worth approximately US$6 billion.