BTA Bank Wins Sanctions Against Ex-Chairman In Theft Lawsuit

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A federal judge in New York ordered former BTA Bank JSC chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov to pay the Kazakh lender’s legal fees for the discovery process after he failed to hand over evidence in a lawsuit accusing him of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. real estate.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine Parker also said Ablyazov was “less than forthcoming” in a court-ordered deposition carried out in France, during which he claimed not to remember his own phone number or whether he’d used an accountant since fleeing Kazakhstan in 2009.

“Ablyazov’s recalcitrance is particularly troubling given that the missing evidence goes to the heart of his defenses,” Parker said in a July 3 ruling in Manhattan. “Such failure to produce is intentional.”

BTA has long claimed that Ablyazov, 56, was stringing the court along in the three-year-old suit accusing him of stealing billions of dollars. Ablyazov fled to France from Britain after a U.K. judge found him in contempt in a parallel case.

The new ruling follows Ablyazov’s “repeated refusal to obey court orders and participate honestly in the litigation process,” Matthew L. Schwartz, BTA’s New York-based lawyer with Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, said in an email.

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