Yesterday the Tver District Court in Moscow arrested in absentia the former head of the Kazakh BTA-Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, he had been previously put on the international wanted list. Investigation Committee under the MIA (IC) considers him the head of the criminal group, and accuses him of fraud in large-scale and bank assets embezzlement of about $ 5 billion. Prosecutor General's Office will try to start the process of extradition of ex-banker from the UK. Defense considers the claim to the banker to be unfounded, and the case against him is political.
According to the materials received by the court, 47-year-old former chairman of BTA Bank is accused in absentia of fraud in a large scale, committed by a group (Article 159 of the Criminal Code), as well as of legalization of stolen property (art. 174.1 ), causing damage to property (Article 165); making false documents (Article 327), and using official position against the interests of the bank (Article 201), as well as an attempt to commit some of these crimes.
According to investigators, from May 2006 to January 2009, the banker organized a scheme to obtain large loans in BTA bank for the companies controlled by him. Banker did not intend to return the loans. According to investigators, the banker drew the heads of companies under his control to be accomplices of the large-scale theft – those were the chairman of the board of directors of IPG Eurasia - Arthur Mills, the CEO of the company - Igor Kononkov, the chapter of "East Bridge Capital” - Alexander Udovenko (all of them fled abroad); as well as the CEO of OOO "Eurasia Logistics" - Alexander Volkov and top managers of the company - Denis Vorotyntsev, Artem Bondarenko, Alexander Belov – all of them have been arrested. According to investigators, the group withdrew liquid mortgages and assets of about $ 5 billion from the BTA Bank on various offshore companies.
Based on the fact that the banker Ablyazov is charged with serious crimes and escaped from investigation abroad, the IC asked to elect him a measure of restraint in the form of arrest.
Lawyer George Pospelov, in turn, said that the investigation should not have put his client on international wanted list, as long they know that he has been living in the UK and his address is well-known to them. According to the lawyer, Mr. Ablyazov cannot come to Moscow for investigation, because the British court forbade him to leave England as an interim measure under a suit brought to him by BTA Bank
After hearing arguments of the parties, in the evening, Judge Alexander Krivoruchko authorized the absentia arrest of ex-banker. Moreover, when justifying his decision, he noted that the residence of Mr. Ablyazov remains unknown, as even his correspondence with Russian lawyer is going through the London law firm. In addition, ex-banker was called in for questioning through his lawyer twice – on June, 25 and July, 2, but he did not come ever. With regard to the ban imposed by the English court, as "Kommersant" was told in the Interior Ministry, after learning about it from the lawyer, the investigation suggested Mr. Ablyazov to ask the court to lift restrictions on travel for questioning in case he did want to give explanations, but this was not done as well.
After the meeting, Lawyer Pospelov claimed that he will appeal the decision of the court. He called the case of his client politically motivated. As Kommersant already reported, the banker has been pursued in Kazakhstan after he began to sponsor the opposition parties in power. In turn, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office can now begin the process of extradition of Mr. Ablyazov from the UK. Let us note, however, that London has not given anyone to Moscow in recent years.
Source: Kommersant № 187 (4487) on 10/08/2010