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Mukhtar Ablyazov associate imprisoned, $5bn civil litigation ongoing

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Mukhtar Ablyazov associate imprisoned, $5bn civil litigation ongoingOn August 10th a Cypriot court sentenced British citizen, Paul Kythreotis, to 2 months in prison for contempt of court. Mr. Kythreotis is an associate of Mukhtar Ablyazov, former chairman of Kazakstan’s BTA Bank, who is accused of misappropriating BTA funds totalling around $10bn during his time at the bank.http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

On August 10th a Cypriot court sentenced British citizen, Paul Kythreotis, to 2 months in prison for contempt of court. Mr. Kythreotis is an associate of Mukhtar Ablyazov, former chairman of Kazakstan’s BTA Bank, who is accused of misappropriating BTA funds totalling around $10bn during his time at the bank.

Kythreotis was the subject of a July 2010 English High Court order instructing him to disclose details of his assets as part of a world-wide freezing order. He failed to disclose information concerning over $68m of his personal assets, and also refused to comply with the request to provide information on a further $295m of BTA Bank assets alleged to have been misappropriated by himself, Mr. Ablyazov and other associates. He also later admitted to supplying the English court with false information. He was susequently found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.

Mr.Kytherios has avoided serving his sentence by refusing to return to the UK, however BTA bank were able to successfully pursue action against him through the Cypriot legal system, where he currently resides. Despite currently residing in a Cypriot prison the English judgement and corresponding 21-month sentence remain outstanding.

Pavel Prosyankin, BTA Bank managing director, welcomed the judgement and reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to seek redress from Mr.Ablyazov and his associates, whom they allege to have misappropriated billions of dollars of funds during his tenure as chairman.

BTA Bank has launched 9 civil cases through the English High Court as a part of its restructuring agreement with creditors to recover missing assets. The proceedings were filed against Ablyazov and his associates- including Kytherios- shortly after his 2009 arrival in London. Somewhat Ironically, Ablyazov had applied for UK asylum on arrival to the UK, citing politically motivated persecution as the cause of his flight from Kazakhstan. In the early stages of the litigation, the English courts froze his assets and held his passports to prevent him fleeing the jurisdiction. However, Ablyazov subsequently fled the UK after the High Court sentenced him to prison in February 2012 and is now in hiding- his location is currently unknown.

He also has a 22-month contempt of court sentence against his name, and Justice Teare, presiding, has taken the unusual step of issuing Mr. Ablyazov an "unless order"- meaning that he will not be able to defend BTA’s suits against him should he continue to fail to comply with the outstanding court order against him. He has appealed both judgements through his lawyers, with a verdict expected in October.

Sources close to the bank have stated, "The bank’s main priority is to protect the assets [that they believe Ablyazov has misappropriated] through all legal channels so they can be returned to the bank and creditors. Ablyazov’s assets were put into receivership to prevent them from being removed or hidden, but there has been evidence that assets were improperly dealt with since then, so the bank sought and won a committal action."

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