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British court orders fugitive banker to pay USD 2.1 bn

Posted on Nov 24, 11:11AM | IANS

A British court has ruled a former bank chairperson, who is on the run from authorities, should pay the bank USD 2.1 billion in compensation for damages in a fraud scheme.

On Friday, the British high court ruled that former BTA Bank chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov must pay the bank USD 2.1 billion in compensation.

BTA Bank filed a series of lawsuits against Ablyazov in the high court shortly after his arrival in London as a part of its restructuring agreement with creditors to recover USD 5 billion assets allegedly misappropriated by Ablyazov during his tenure at BTA Bank between 2005 and 2009.

The court ruling was the first to demand a monetary compensation from Ablyazov as the bank has already clinched a worldwide freezing order on his declared assets, currently worth around USD 6 billion.

BTA bank was the biggest lender in Kazakhstan before it defaulted on USD 12 billion of debt and was taken over by the government in 2009.

Kazakh prosecutors accused Ablyazov of money laundering and fraud in March 2009, issuing a warrant for his arrest. Following the warrant, Ablyazov fled to Britain where he was granted political asylum in 2011.

Ablyazov, 49, was sentenced by a high court in February to 22 months imprisonment for contempt after failing to disclose full details of his assets. He fled Britain shortly after the ruling.

The former banker and Kazakh government minister, whose current whereabouts are unknown, denies any wrongdoing and claims that legal action against him is politically motivated.