Judge says fugitive oligarch defrauded Kazakh bank BTA

City A.M. Reporter
A JUDGE yesterday said oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, who has been in hiding since he was sentenced to jail for contempt of court last year, organised a complex fraud to embezzle billions of dollars from Kazakh bank BTA.

Judge Nigel Teare said that Ablyazov must have orchestrated or authorised false loans and “deceived” BTA’s board by failing to disclose his interest in borrowers.

Ablyazov, 49, a former theoretical physics graduate, entrepreneur and Kazakh government minister, has denied fraud allegations he said are designed to rob him and eliminate him as an opponent to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In a judgment against three of Ablyazov’s co-defendants, the High Court judge, who has presided over much of the case since it was brought in 2009, backed BTA’s allegations that its former chairman committed one of the largest frauds ever tried in Britain.

He found that Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov, a former deputy chairman of BTA’s management board, Ildar Khazhaev, former head of BTA's Moscow office and Cypriot company Usarel knowingly helped Ablyazov misappropriate cash from BTA. All three defendants had pleaded not guilty.

Ablyazov has been debarred from defending himself against around $6bn of fraud claims because he ignored court orders.