The Supreme Court, which previously never satisfied claims of lawyers in the case, has agreed with the defense appeal and changed the measure of restraint for the businessmen. The Supreme Court ruled to release the two men on bail. The financial director of Eurasia Logistics, Artem Bondarenko, will be freed on bail of 50 million rubles; and for the economic director, Alexei Belov, the bail out sum will total to 40 million rubles.
The defendants will be freed from remand prison immediately after the bail out sum is transferred to the court’s deposit account. It is worth mentioning that both managers accused of large-scale fraud, forgery and other crimes have been in custody since March, 18, 2010.
Lawyers for those defendants in the case, who still remain under arrest (all in all there are seven accused in the case and three of them, including Mukhtar Ablyazov, are subject to arrest warrants), did not comment on either the Supreme Court ruling or the intension to file bail out appeals for their clients.
Eurasia Logistic CEO Alexander Volkov, head of legal department Denis Vorotyntsev, director of economics Alexei Belov, and financial director Artem Bondarenko are accused of forgery, fraud and embezzlement of loans worth 1.5 billion dollars from the Kazakh BTA-Bank. They are also accused of theft of property that was pledged to the bank, amounting to $ 2.8 billion.
According to investigators, at the end of January 2009 the owner of the bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who found out about the decision by the Kazakh authorities to nationalize BTA- Bank, instructed his subordinates to withdraw most liquid bank assets. According to investigators, the accused to embody his idea forged the signature of the representative of BTA-Bank, produced false papers to terminate the contracts on pledges that the bank had had with a dozen of its borrowers. Artem Bondarenko and Alexei Belov signed the forged documents and registered them. As a result, land in the Domodedovo district with total area of 2.5 thousand hectares was stolen. Simultaneously, the same people, according to investigators, made 24 assignment agreements, and with the help of these agreements transferred loans to dozens of offshore shell companies and stole them.
None of the defendants in the case admit their guilt. All of them, including Mukhtar Ablyazov, claim the prosecution to be politically motivated. The banker, who has been living in London recently, repeatedly stated that the reasons for the nationalization of BTA-Bank and for criminal proceedings initiated against it are related to its opposition activities against the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.