A fraudulent bank head will be stripped of over £150 million of assets, including a multi-million pound property empire, after evading British courts over one of the country’s biggest ever civil claims, The Independent reported.
Mukhtar Ablyazov, previously head of The JSC BTA Bank and a Kazakh government minister, fled Britain earlier this year after being sentenced to 22 months in prison for refusing to reveal details of his personal wealth as part of an investigation into an alleged £3 billion fraud.
Ablayoz faces forfeiting his £63 million property portfolio, which includes a £17 million property on North London’s Bishops Avenue, as the Kazakh bank attempts to recoup its losses.
The charges brought against Ablyazov by BTA detail alleged fraudulent activity while he served as the bank’s chairman between 2005 and 2009, consisting of nine separate claims totalling £3.1 billion.
Courts have previously heard how Ablayazov supposedly siphoned billions from the bank using fake loans, back-dated documents and offshore accounts.
A number of British banks who previously invested in BTA, including RBS, are set to share any reclaimed funds up to a value of £310 million.
The first of several cases brought against Ablyazov was due to start today in London’s High Court, though the former BTA head has now been barred from contesting proceedings.
The Court of Appeal noted that the fugitive billionaire had shown “contemptuous disregard” for previous legal action and that, despite avoiding custody by leaving the country, was still communicating with his lawyers.
Ablayazov continues to deny any wrongdoing, obtaining that any claims against him are politically motivated following disagreements in his tenure as a government minister in Kazakhstan. He says he now fears for his personal safety.
In a statement a representative from Addleshaw Goddard, the law firm representing Ablyazov, said: “He continues to maintain his right to defend the claims and has applied for permission to appeal the judgment.”
On Tuesday, Lord Justice Rix, one of the appeal court judges, said: “Mr Ablyazov, emboldened perhaps by the wealth at his disposal, which enables him to travel, hide and still instruct lawyers on a prodigious scale, continues to obstruct justice with an attempt at impunity for the consequences of this litigation.”
Pavel Prosyankin, managing director of BTA, said: “The court’s decision against Mr Ablyazov reinforces our belief that bringing these proceedings was the most legitimate, transparent and effective way to recover misappropriated assets and we remain committed to the process.”