BTA poised to seize oligarch's assets after appeal thrown out

City A.M. Reporter
MUKHTAR Ablyazov, a fugitive oligarch accused of embezzling more than $5bn (£3.1bn), was labelled “devious” and “cynical” by judges yesterday as his former Kazakh bank BTA prepared to pounce on his assets.

On the eve of his fraud trial, the Court of Appeal threw out Ablyazov’s attempts in absentia to overturn a 22-month jail sentence and a ruling barring him from defending himself unless he turns himself in and discloses his assets.

The trial of Ablyazov, a former Kazakh minister who has vanished since the jail sentence was announced in February, is due to kick off today. It is scheduled to last around 14 weeks.

Ablyazov has told his legal team he will neither attend the trial and risk arrest nor defend his case. His former bank BTA, meanwhile, will prepare to seize his assets.

In a series of lawsuits BTA – declared insolvent and nationalised in 2009 – has brought nine separate fraud cases against its former chairman and his allies.

BTA accuses Ablyazov of bleeding dry what was once one of the country’s largest banks with a series of fraudulent loans.