Ablyazov Must Pay BTA $294 Million Over Lost Assets, Judge Says

A U.K. judge ordered former BTA Bank Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov to pay about $294 million to the Kazakh lender for a missing portfolio of AAA-rated securities it says he stole.

Judge Launcelot Henderson said the 2008 and 2009 transactions couldn’t have taken place without Ablyazov’s involvement and rejected his explanations for them as “false and worthless.”

Ablyazov, who had been in hiding until his July arrest in France, is accused of fraud totaling about $5 billion against BTA. A French court in Aix-en-Provence on Dec. 5 is scheduled to hear an application to extradite him to the Ukraine.

Henderson said Ablyazov didn’t appear in court to dispute BTA’s claim over the AAA securities. Ablyazov’s lawyers submitted written arguments, saying he wasn’t involved in the transactions and that he didn’t have access to documents allowing him to defend himself, according to Henderson’s ruling.

Ablyazov has previously denied the allegations, arguing they are politically motivated because of his criticism of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. He fled the U.K. in February 2012 after being sentenced to 22 months in prison for contempt of court.

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