Underground Oligarch’s Empire Destroyed

By Alina Kantor

The story of escaped oligarch from Kazakhstan Mukhtar Ablyazov is getting to its logical ending. Almost all his team has been arrested, and the criminal himself is hiding from British justice. 


Ablyazov is a negative example of contemporary policy, when financial rascal introduces himself as a politician, opposer and democrat. This person has stolen money from Englishmen, and by this Great Britain granted him political asylum and hid him for several years. Stolen funds belonged partially to the biggest British banks HSBK and Royal Scottish bank RBS. And British banks in their turn managed not their own funds, but the money of British pension funds …


Ablyazov stole funds from Kazakhstani BTA Bank, being its Head. And as this financial establishment was closely connected with British institutions default stroke everyone. 


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BTA Bank today is in active trial process against Ablyazov in the framework of commercial dispute. Substantial evidence basis has been gathered – uncovering the sense of the fraud, withdrawal through the off-shores and appropriation of more than six billion USD, for which he has been wanted by the law enforcement bodies of not only Kazakhstan, but also Russia. 


Understanding, that unification of the criminal process means politicization of the situation, BTA Bank decided to transfer the case into the sphere of civil-legal relations, although representatives of English Themis and lawyers wondered –  there is evident criminal case here. But some English politicians somehow believed each word of the escaped oligarch. Piquancy of the situation is provided by the fact that Great Britain very soon saw how deceitful and crafty Mr. Ablyazov was. Having used hospitality, he in fact discredited the most efficient court in the world, having turned British Themis into “helpless cow”.


The process lingered so much that it has turned into the Theater of the Absurd. Within the frames of one commercial case convicted for disrespect to the Court were Ablyazov’s treasurers P.Kitreotis (21 months of jail), Syrym Shalabayev (18 moths) and Ablyazov himself for the maximum term under this article (22 months). And the three has escaped freely. And the judges only shrugged their shoulders helplessly.


Naturally the Supreme Court of London tried to use repressive mechanisms. It was declared that if Mr. Ablyazov didn’t appear in the court personally as earlier as possible, he would be deprived of the court defense right. But the escapee didn’t even think to return. And his highly professional lawyers have sent already two appeals to the court – protesting against detention of their client and his deprivation of court defense. This allowed prolongation of the process for six months more. As a result even usually cool judges of the Supreme Court allowed themselves quite acute remarks towards Ablyazov. 


“It’s hard to imagine a party to a commercial dispute who would act with greater cynicism, opportunism and resourcefulness than Mr. Ablyazov in relation to court orders,” – said particularly the Vice President of the Court of Appeal Maurice Kay.


According to lawyers, these statements are unprecedented within commercial trials. And the Court of Appeal issued decisions, which in fact put Ablyazov out of the law. Both appeals of the oligarch were declined. And this means, firstly – Ablyazov should go to jail, and secondly – to be deprived of the right to defend on eight lawsuits, issued by the bank for the total amount of more than six billion USD. 


The situation has made the Themis representatives so furious that they started talking about more effective means for successful execution of decisions, as otherwise the rascals like Ablyazov will be able to linger the processes without any obstacles. Now it’s left to wait till the court decision will be executed and forced recovery of the assets starts. There are some moves. One of the escapee Ablyazov’s associate P. Kitreotis has been recently convicted by the court of Cyprus to imprisonment. This person in the criminal network was one of the key elements assuring hiding and spending of the assets. Many other associates of the oligarch are imprisoned in Kazakhstan. Thus in the Czech Republic they arrested Tatiana Paraskevich, Ablyazov’s accomplice, who was responsible for development of the funds movement schemes, as well as real financing of international criminal group. In course of search, held in the place of her permanent registration in Moscow and the previous place of living, investigating officers withdrawn great amount of fake stamps of commercial organizations and tax bodies. Another four associates are imprisoned in Moscow, they were involved into one of the episodes connected with steeling of 730 mln USD – Alexander Volkov, Denis Vorotyntsev, Artiom Bondarenko and Alexey Belov. They all are sentenced to long-term imprisonment and fines.


There are no followers of Ablyazov left also in Kazakhstan. The group of comrades from non-registered party “Alga” is sentenced for inciting social hostility and provoking criminal actions. The rest have remained free, but disappointed with the leader, who lost the fight on all points. Underground Empire of the oligarch Ablyazov has turned to be almost destroyed. Almost all his team is arrested or escaped, funds are under foreign control, and a part of those assets, which have been managed to hide, shall be soon seized. 


The Supreme Court of London, due to the experience with Ablyazov now intends to introduce more efficient mechanisms of court decisions execution. And for European politicians the story with this oligarch should become a lesson, to avoid such confuses in future.