Hong Kong freezes assets of Ablyazov’s affiliates

Feb 26. Tengrinews

Hong Kong freezes assets of Ablyazov's affiliatesHong Kong Court has ruled to freeze assets of companies that are believes to be owned by the fugitive ex-head Kazakhstan banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, Tengrinews reports citing the South China Morning Post.

The court granted a motion of BTA Bank to freeze assets and stock of Hong Kong-based company Kazoil-Astana Group that is supposedly secretly owned by Mukhtar Ablyazov.

According to the South China Morning Post, in 2008 Kazoil was involved in a legal dispute with the mainland firm Xinjiang Yili Zhaoli Commerce and Trade over the petrochemical plant and sea port project of two joint-venture companies Beihai Hanali Petro-chemical Port and Beihai Hanali Petro-chemical Enterprise in the coastal city of Beihai in Guangxi province. It was also reported that Kazoil obtained a $16 million loan from BTA Bank.

Besides, the Court of Hong Kong froze assets and stock of one more Hong Kong-based company – Maxray Logistics – as part of the proceedings. According to the company’s corporate documents, Hong Kong resident Dominic Lau Tak-ming is the owner of the company. But the judge of the Hong Kong Supreme Court Kevin Zervos said that the court had solid grounds to believe that both these companies are affiliated to and controlled by Mukhtar Ablyazov.

The court intends to appoint a temporary managers for the firms.

Ablyazov is wanted in Kazakhstan for embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and siphoning off BTA bank’s funds through dummy companies and illegal financial schemes. He is charged with stealing around $6 billion dollars. He is also wanted in Ukraine, Russia and the UK.

The oligarch was arrested in July by 15 police officers in a dramatic raid on the six-bedroom villa he was renting in Mouans-Sartoux on a warrant issued by Ukraine, as a helicopter hovered in case he tried to escape.

On January 9, 2014 the French court of Aix-en-Provence approved the extradition requests for the exiled Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov from both Russia and Ukraine, but ruled that Russia should take priority.

A week later Mukhtar Ablyazov’s lawyer appealed the French country’s extradition ruling.