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The Court Found That Ablyazov Laundered Stolen Money in the United States


An American court found that Mukhtar Ablyazov stole money from BTA Bank and laundered it in the United States. This is stated in a statement published on the official website of BTA Bank. 

On July 31, 2023, Judge John G. Költle, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, reportedly ruled in favor of BTA Bank JSC against Triadou SPV SA for over $193 million. 

The court’s decision follows a December 2022 jury verdict that held Triadou liable for embezzlement and illicit enrichment. 

“In addition to the jury’s verdict, the judge, after studying the case file, detailed the rationale for his decision on 66 pages. As a result, the court recognized BTA’s claim against Triadou for trust property and any funds that could be received as a result of the use of BTA funds, as well as satisfied the requirements of BTA in relation to a number of assets of Triadou . 

It is noted that the court recognized the defendant Triadou SPV as a shell company created and controlled by the son-in-law of Mukhtar Ablyazov – Ilyas Khrapunov, which “received more than $ 70 million in money stolen from BTA, which the company invested in real estate in New York and other places in the United States “. 

“As detailed in the court’s findings: ‘Evidence presented in court shows that funds invested on behalf of Triadou in the United States are directly linked to $115.3 million stolen from BTA by Ablyazov through another shell company ,'” the representatives said. “BTA Bank” 

According to BTA Bank, Ilyas Khrapunov claimed to have sold the parent company Triadou SPV to a third party, Philipp Glatz. However, the court concluded that: ” Glatz’s acquisition of Triadou SPV was fictitious , paid for by Ilyas himself, and that Ilyas Khrapunov continued to control Triadou SPV even after the lawsuit began.” 

“The court and jury heard witnesses, including Ablyazov and his accomplices, as well as expert witnesses, who explained the structure of a major fraud committed against BTA. 

The court ruled that the evidence presented by BTA that Ablyazov used BTA’s Corporate Business Department (UKB-6) to steal billions of dollars through “fake loans to offshore companies” is credible and complete , the bank said. 

It is also emphasized that the court came to the following conclusion: 

“Offshore companies that were “clients of the Bank” (UKB-6) were owned or controlled by Ablyazov, and the “loans” issued by him had no economic content. Instead of being transactions between independent parties, the “loans” with the assistance of UKB-6 were intended to conceal the misappropriation of funds by Ablyazov from BTA Bank . 

Ultimately, the court dismissed the testimony of Ablyazov’s accomplices and their alternative explanation of the source of the funds as “not credible.” 

“We were able to prove to the New York judge and jury that Mukhtar Ablyazov defrauded BTA Bank of billions of dollars and laundered stolen money in the United States. This case was an important step in BTA Bank’s efforts to restore justice and was crucial in bringing to justice responsibility of Ablyazov and his accomplices. 

We are grateful for the careful consideration of the evidence by the jury and the United States District Court,” said Matthew L. Schwartz, Managing Partner of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and BTA Representative. 

Other legal cases of Mukhtar Ablyazov 

Recall that criminal cases have been opened against Ablyazov in Kazakhstan and a number of other countries. 

In December 2020, Mukhtar Ablyazov was sentenced in absentia in Russia to 15 years in prison in the BTA Bank case. A Russian court found that in three years – from 2006 to 2009 – Ablyazov, together with his subordinates, stole 58 billion rubles, that is, 330.3 billion tenge, from the bank. 

And in Kazakhstan, a banker was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison – in 2017 he was found guilty of embezzlement. 

In May this year, it was reported that the French Court of Cassation overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal to terminate the trial against Mukhtar Ablyazov in the case of breach of trust and money laundering. 

Expulsion of Ablyazov from France 

In early December 2022, it became known that Mukhtar Ablyazov was deprived of his refugee status in France. At the same time, the French media wrote that Ablyazov could face extradition to Kazakhstan. However, in January 2023, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan explained that at the moment Kazakhstan does not have an extradition agreement with France . 

In early July, Ablyazov announced that he had received an order from the executive police that he must leave France, where he has been living for several years, within 30 days and go to a country that is ready to accept him. 

A few days later, BTA Bank, citing an unnamed source, reported that Ablyazov had indeed received a document obliging him to leave French territory within 30 days. 

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office stated that they did not have reliable information that could confirm or refute the information about the expulsion of Ablyazov from France. It was emphasized that the issues of expulsion of foreign citizens belong to the internal affairs of the country. 

Return of Uncle Ablyazov to Kazakhstan 

We also recall that on July 25 , an accomplice and uncle of Mukhtar Ablyazov, Kuanysh Nurgazin, who voluntarily returned to Kazakhstan, was detained at the Almaty airport . 

“Nurgazin is the nominal director of the BSC LLP controlled by Ablyazov. Through illegal lending to this company, Ablyazov and his accomplices stole the funds of BTA Bank on an especially large scale,” the Prosecutor General’s Office reported at the time. 

For 12 years he hid in Lithuania, where he received refugee status. 

Later, Kuanysh Nurgazin told why he decided to return to his homeland . 

According to Nurgazin, at that time he did not even suspect about Ablyazov’s machinations – he found out about it only after law enforcement agencies began to identify large financial thefts in the bank. 

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