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BTA’s Former Board Member Detained by Kazakhs Over Fraud Inquiry

Kazakhstan’s financial police detained Erlan Tatishev, a former member of BTA Bank’s board of directors, in connection with an embezzlement inquiry at the defaulted state-owned lender.

Tatishev was placed in detention in Almaty two days ago pending further investigation, the Kazakh economic crimes and corruption agency said on its website today, without disclosing the confidential contents of the case. In December, the Prosecutor General’s Office transferred to the agency 1,770 volumes of a criminal probe into suspected embezzlement at BTA. Tatishev couldn’t be reached for comment.

BTA, the country’s biggest lender before it was taken over by sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna four years ago, has filed a series of civil suits against Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov claiming he took more than $5 billion from the Almaty-based bank using fake loans, back-dated documents and offshore companies.

The bank, which defaulted on $12 billion of debt in 2009, said Nov. 28 that a U.K. court ordered Ablyazov to pay more than 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) plus interest.

Tatishev resigned from the BTA board in August 2010 after serving as a director since 2005, according to BTA’s website.

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