BTA Bank (BTAS) said a U.K. court ordered former chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzlement from the Kazakh lender before its default three years ago, to pay 1.02 billion pounds ($1.63 billion) plus interest.
The court also ordered “new post-judgment asset-freezing orders be made against Mr. Ablyazov in an unlimited sum and new asset-freezing orders in relation to certain other defendants,” the Almaty-based bank said in statement on its website today, citing a Nov. 23 ruling. The bank will now undertake enforcement steps following the verdict, it said.
BTA is seeking an agreement on its second debt restructuring by the end of this year after failing to make a January interest payment on dollar bonds due July 2018. Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna took over BTA, the central Asian nation’s biggest bank by assets at the time, two months before its default in 2009.
BTA, which has accused Ablyazov of helping embezzle more than $5 billion, still holds the funds through investment projects, Le Temps reported Nov. 26, citing an interview with Ablyazov. Speaking with the Swiss newspaper via Skype, Ablyazov said hiding the money would have been “impossible,” the newspaper said.
The former banker has been in hiding since February after he was found in contempt of a U.K. court for violating a 2009 asset-freeze order by lying about his assets and moving money.
Locksley Ryan, who previously worked as a spokesman for Ablyazov, said by e-mail that he has no comment as he’s no longer in contact with BTA’s former chairman.
A meeting of the bank’s noteholders to discuss its second debt restructuring plan was adjourned on Nov. 16 because it lacked a quorum and has been rescheduled to Nov. 30 at 11 a.m. in London at the offices of law firm White & Case LLP, according to a separate statement on the lender’s website.
BTA’s net loss widened to 658 billion tenge ($4.4 billion) in the first half from 103 billion tenge during the same period last year, according to the lender’s unaudited interim condensed consolidated statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at email@example.com