BTA BANK CONFIRMS INTERIM FREEZING ORDER AGAINST MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV’S SON-IN-LAW14.02.2016 18:00:00
London, 15 February 2015 – The interim freezing order pronounced on 17 July 2015 against Ilyas Khrapunov, the son-in law of Mukhtar Ablyazov, was confirmed on 11 February by the English Court.
This freezing order is in support of BTA Bank’s claims filed in the English Court against Ilyas Khrapunov for allegedly assisting Mukhtar Ablyazov to deal with his assets in breach of English Court orders and of the freezing orders previously granted by the English Court against Mr Ablyazov.
The freezing injunction that was obtained last July therefore remains in force and restricts dealings in the assets controlled by Mr Khrapunov either for Mr Ablyazov or on his own behalf. Accordingly, third parties are put on notice that they should not deal with Mr Khrapunov in relation to the assets that he controls without the consent of the Bank or further order of the English Court.
BTA Bank successfully demonstrated to the English Court that it has good arguable claims against M. Khrapunov and that the English Court has jurisdiction over him to deal with those claims. This recognition by the English Court will help to ensure that M. Khrapunov is made responsible for what the Bank believes have been his actions in conspiring with Mukhtar Ablyazov to evade the English Court's freezing orders.
This decision marks an important step in BTA Bank’s quest to recover billions of dollars that have been stolen by Mukhtar Ablyazov as it serves to remind all parties that those who assist Mr Ablyazov to breach English Court orders may face the scrutiny of the English Court no matter where they live.
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 until shortly before they came to Court, 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.
- On 12 October 2015, it was reported in the French media that the French Prime Minister had issued a decree for the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia.
- Hogan Lovells has been acting for the Bank since May 2009 in its series of major fraud cases before the English Courts.
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