Mukhtar Ablyazov, ex-chairman of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank, asked a U.K. judge to order the lender to hand over documents explaining how his personal stake in the bank's Georgian subsidiary was sold without his permission.
BTA, which has sued Ablyazov in Britain for fraud, "stood by" as the unit sold the former executive's 27 percent stake to an entity with links to the Kazakh government, his lawyer, Charles Bear, said yesterday at a London court. The transfer is part of BTA's attempt to expropriate Ablyazov's wealth and may have violated a U.K. freezing order on his assets, Bear said.
The sale in April 2010, "does appear to be an instance exemplifying this campaign to steal my client's assets," Bear said at the hearing. The documents sought by Ablyazov could demonstrate BTA's "complicity in the transfer," he said.
BTA, which defaulted on $12 billion of debt before restructuring last year, filed a series of U.K. cases against Ablyazov and Roman Solodchenko, its ex-chief executive officer, over claims they siphoned money from the bank using fake loans. The men fled to London from Kazakhstan.
Ablyazov claims the case is politically motivated and the Georgian stake was sold to an entity controlled by the son-in- law of Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
BTA, the biggest Kazakh lender before its nationalization in 2009, says litigation against the men will benefit Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), Barclays Plc (BARC), Commerzbank AG (CBK) and other creditors that financed its rapid growth before the global credit crisis.
A call to BTA's corporate headquarters in Almaty, Kazakhstan, wasn't answered.