BTA Bank comments on the French Court decision to send Ablyazov’s extradition case for retrial11.04.2014 16:23:31
Almaty, April 11, 2014 - JSC "BTA Bank" (hereinafter - the Bank) considers it necessary to comment on the decision of the Paris Court of Cassation as of April 9, 2014 to cancel the earlier decision of the Aix-en-Provence Court to grant Russian and Ukrainian requests to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov and to send the case for retrial.
Antonin Levy, the BTA's legal advisor in France, commented:
"The Bank has been informed today of the annulment of the 9 January 2014 decisions of the Aix en Provence Court of Appeal granting the extradition requests of Russia and Ukraine. We understand that according to the decision of the French Supreme Court, such annulment resulted solely and exclusively from an administrative error by the Court in the extradition process in failing to have Mr. Ablyazov sign an official record before the Court objecting again to the extradition requests following a minor change in the composition of the Court. We also understand that the annulment is a mandatory and automatic result of this administrative error and does not challenge or affect in any way the reasoning or merits of the Aix en Provence Court of Appeal.
French justice has joined British justice in acknowledging the massive frauds committed by Mr. Ablyazov to the prejudice of the Bank. Mr. Ablyazov has been described as a "criminal on a grand scale" by the Public Prosecutor in Aix-en-Provence.
The Bank understands that the extradition requests will now be heard afresh by the Court of Lyon and that Mr. Ablyazov will remain in custody until that court makes its decision.
The Bank is obviously disappointed by the delays which will be caused by this administrative error, particularly where Mr. Ablyazov and his lawyers have always made abundantly clear to the court in Aix en Provence and generally his objections to the extradition requests. However, the 9 January 2014 decisions upheld the Russian and Ukraine requests comprehensively on the merits and the Bank fully expects that the new French court will reach exactly the same decisions. In particular, the Court ruled that both extradition requests were not made for political reasons and that indeed Mr Ablyazov had not asserted that he had carried out any political activities in either country. The Court was also satisfied that Mr Ablyazov could receive a fair trial and humane treatment in both countries and was not at risk of being re-extradited to Kazakhstan.
As the detailed grounds for those requests are already before with the French court, along with Mr. Ablyazov's objections, we understand that the new court should be able to issue a fresh ruling within a few weeks. In the meantime, Mr. Ablyazov is expected to remain in custody to prevent him from fleeing justice again. The Bank continues to support all efforts to ensure that Mr. Ablyazov stands trial for at least some of the serious frauds he committed against BTA. His extradition will also assist the Bank in its recovery efforts by limiting his ability to continue to launder the proceeds of his wrongdoing.