BTA Ex-Chairman Loses Bid for U.K. Top Court Appeal Case

Former BTA Bank (BTAS) Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling from the Kazakh lender before its default four years ago, was denied permission by the U.K. Supreme Court to appeal a contempt ruling and prison sentence.

BTA previously won judgments against Ablyazov for about $2 billion in two claims against him, and is in the process of seeking a judgment for $1.55 billion more, the Almaty-based bank said today in an e-mailed statement. Ablyazov fled the U.K. in February 2012 after being sentenced to 22 months in prison for contempt of court. His whereabouts are unknown.

“Today’s decision marks the end of Mr. Ablyazov’s legal maneuvering and will expedite the enforcement of the significant judgments we have won,” Pavel Prosyankin, the managing director overseeing BTA’s asset-recovery process, said in the statement.

Ablyazov, accused of helping embezzle more than $5 billion in fraudulent loans, was found in contempt of a U.K. court for violating a 2009 asset-freeze order by lying about his assets and moving money. Two months before BTA’s 2009 default on its debt, Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund took over the bank, then the central Asian nation’s biggest bank by assets.

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