The Trial On The Case Of The Former Head Of BTA Bank Is Continuing

The Trial On The Case Of The Former Head Of BTA Bank Is Continuing

In Kazakhstan, the trial on the case of the former head of BTA bank Mukhtar Ablyazov is continuing. He is accused of fraud and theft of more than $ 7.5 billion from the bank.

The judicial process takes place without the participation of the main person involved. Currently, M. Ablyazov is in France. Attempts by three states – Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine (in which Ablyazov is also accused of fraud) to obtain permission from France to extradite ended in nothing. In December 2016, the French State Council abolished the decree on the extradition of Ablyazov and released him from prison. Then Paris justified its decision by the fact that, allegedly, Moscow’s request (it was the first country pretending to be extradited) was made “for political reasons”. However, for “political reasons” there is nothing but the conviction of Paris.

In the trial in Astana, the accusation is based on a very convincing evidence base and the testimony of numerous witnesses.

The scheme was quite simple. Although multi-way. Witnesses in the case opened it in court.
First, the capital of BTA Bank was artificially increased. As Nurgali Berkinbayev, the former director of BTA Bank’s branch in Shymkent (a large metropolis in the south of Kazakhstan), he became the nominal director of several companies affiliated with the bank. They bought BTA securities, selling them later on the market. And, thereby, increasing the value of the bank’s shares. Moreover, similar companies received unsecured loans in BTA Bank for the purchase of its shares.

Then the “expensive bank” took preferential loans from Western financial organizations. The funds were then withdrawn through lending to one-day companies both in Kazakhstan, and in Russia and Ukraine.

For example, the Seychelles offshore company Rimos Limited received a loan of $ 136.36 million. Another company Winterra Holding was credited for the amount of $127.989 million.

In total, BTA Bank issued loans to six offshore companies registered in the Seychelles: Starwood Contract Limited, Winterra Holding, Netgold Servises Ltd, Rimos Limited, Toros Limited, Highbond Associates Limited, on the security of the plots purchased in the Moscow region. The land should have been ennobled by the conduct of all communications, then either be disengaged for sale, or for the construction of a cottage town.

Some media reported that loans were made for the construction of a satellite city. But the goal of all these manipulations was, according to the version of the investigation, the withdrawal of money from the Bank abroad. The fact is that according to Ablyazov’s instructions the plots in Moscow suburbs were falsified from the pledge of BTA Bank, and then sold. Accordingly, to date, there is no collateral. Debt on loans issued to offshore companies is not repaid. The High Court of London, having considered the claims of Kazakhstan, in 2010 recognized the companies of Rimos Limited and Winterra Holding as Ablyazov’s assets

Similarly Ablyazov worked in Georgia. Through affiliated companies, he received irrevocable loans for the construction of hotels, land plots, working capital. And as a result, he brought out more than 300 million dollars only through “Georgian” companies.

All this was told at the trial by Ablyazov’s accomplices, who are on trial as defendants or witnesses. And thus only confirmed all the results of the means.

Such an offense of friends-associates on the former boss is simply explained: Mukhtar Ablyazov deceived not only the depositors and creditors of BTA Bank, but also them. Having already gone abroad, Ablyazov was intimidated by most of the top managers and simple clerks of BTA Bank. And even helped them to leave Kazakhstan. Each of the bank employees was given money and traffic routes. Abroad they were met by Ablyazov’s assistants, they placed fugitives in rented apartments. Subsequently, most of them were thrown by the former chief to the mercy of fate: they were not paid money. But they were periodically intimidated that the return to Kazakhstan could threaten them with imprisonment and even death.

The former first deputy chairman of the Board of BTA Bank Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov says: “After the events in 2009, while in Ukraine, Kairat Sadykov (former director of lending to BTA Bank), like all other” refugees “, continued to receive wages – 10,000 Dollars monthly – in addition to rent. The decision to pay this amount to all “refugees” was taken by Mr. Ablyazov at the insistence of Muratbek Ketebaev, who was charged with dealing with “refugees”. He called the runaways “monkeys with grenades” …. This continued until 2012 inclusive. At some point, Ablyazov thought that they had fulfilled their mission and refused to pay them. ”

Many of those whom Ablyazov once took abroad, voluntarily returned to their homeland. And today they give testimony in court. As it was done by Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov. Others continue to stay abroad. But those left by their former boss are forced to earn as much as they can. So, the former deputy chairman of the Bank Roman Solodchenko today is a janitor in London.

Ablyazov himself claims that all the returnees were kidnapped by Kazakh special services. For example, right after Zharimbetov appealed to representatives of Kazakhstan in Turkey with a statement about his intention to return to his homeland, his wife was called by Ablyazov and Lyudmila Kozlovskaya and (the head of the Open Dialog Foundation, controlled and financed by Ablyazov) and persuaded the wife of the former The top manager of the Bank, that her husband was kidnapped and forcibly taken to his homeland. The woman was literally brought to a fit of hysteria. Even the press conference of Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov himself and his statement that he was not abducted did not stop the “Open Dialogue”. The Foundation tries to convince the European public that the former leaders of the Bank are under pressure, and that Ablyazov himself is not guilty.

By the way, Zharimbetov has already made accusations against Ablyazov and his fund, accusing them of juggling facts. He wrote an open letter to the OSCE and PACE in which he stated that Mukhtar Ablyazov was provoking European journalists and public figures for information actions that only hinder the court and undermine Zharimbetov’s reputation.

However, today in Kazakhstan, it’s no secret for anyone that radical opposition to the authorities of the country exists solely on Ablyazov’s subsidies. And outside of Kazakhstan. Today, most of those who criticize power in Astana are outside of Kazakhstan. Many of them live in Kiev, the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe. And they work for the fees from the Open Dialogue Foundation or directly from Mukhtar Ablyazov.

The key idea of all slogans is: Ablyazov is a political emigrant. This tactic was chosen only for one reason – Mukhtar Ablyazov still fears that the decision on his extradition will be reconsidered in France. And it does not matter which country – Russia, Ukraine or Kazakhstan. Because his financial machinations have been proven by the courts of all these states. He himself is recognized as a fraudster by the High Court of London, his accounts have been arrested in many offshore jurisdictions that have joined the agreement on automatic exchange of information on financial accounts. And he himself is still wanted by Interpol. All the same, Mukhtar Ablyazov today is considered one of the largest financial fraudsters of the 21st century. The second, after Bernard Madoff.

By Kim Shtern

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