Letter to the Editor : –
It seems that Europe is no longer using legal subtleties in geopolitical games. At least in the part that concerns the laundering of money stolen in the countries of the post-Soviet space.
The other day, the High Court of London made additional decision in favor of Kazakhstan, which has been trying to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov for several years. The former banker stole more than 7.5 billion USD from the Kazakhstan bank, and hid them on accounts in the European Union, the United States and offshore.
The story of the flight of ex-banker from Kazakhstan Mr. Mukhtar Ablyazov in recent years was more like a farce. Three countries – Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, unsuccessfully negotiated with the government first of Great Britain, then France about the extradition of Mr.Ablyazov. All three states accused the runaway banker of financial fraud, fraud and money laundering on a large scale. Most affected was Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank, from which Mr.Ablyazov withdrew almost 7.5 billion USD through front companies in Ukraine and Russia. Loud projects, which were financed by the bank’s offices, turned out to be large-scale only on paper. Co-investors, who «bought» on the scam projects, were deceived and suffered huge losses.
Over the years, Astana sought to recognize the case «Kazakhstan v. Mukhtar Ablyazov» exclusively economic. However, the European Union, where the criminal oligarch hid, preferred to consider this case only from a political point of view.
As it is known, most of the officials and businessmen who fled from post-Soviet space to Europe immediately declare themselves «political refugees» immediately after crossing the border. And they start telling stories about the difficulties of life in their homeland. Of course, supplying this with all the sauce from the oppositional theses of the struggle with the current government. At the same time, fattened oligarchs continue to enjoy life under the guise of «poor refugees».
Most often, the attempts of deceived countries to return fugitive criminals or at least stolen money, remain unsuccessful.
Mr.Ablyazov was the turning point.
It was with him that Britain began the process of «laundering» from the country’s reputation as a paradise for fraudsters. The High Court of London not only deprived Mr.Ablyazov and his associates of previously issued refugee status, but also frozen almost half of the assets of a runaway banker. Subsequently, the judicial system of Great Britain recognized the legitimacy of claims of the Kazakh side for these funds, obliging Mr.Ablyazov to return everything to a penny.
However, the oligarch quickly left London, settling (and now, apparently, for a long time) in France. The French authorities did, there was an attempt to get rid of the cheeky swindler, agreeing to extradite him to Moscow. However, at the last moment they changed the decision.
And here Mr.Ablyazov was very useful in his experience of political manipulation and big money in his pocket. Having financed the pre-election headquarters of socialists, Mr.Ablyazov literally bought himself freedom – the State Council of France refused to extradite the banker just before the expected expulsion.
Despite this, British justice went even further. The «Order of wealth of unknown origin» was adopted, which allows for the arrest and seizure of property obtained as a result of «suspicious» activities.
It was this warrant that made it possible to freeze Ablyazov’s assets, which the family of another runaway Kazakh oligarch, former mayor of the country’s largest city, and later Mr. Viktor Khrapunov, ministered today (his family is one of the five richest people in Switzerland).
The Mr.Khrapunov family, as acknowledged by the High Court of London, is the actual asset manager for Mr.Ablyazov. Moreover, Mr.Khrapunov’s son – Ilyas – appears in the American investigation into money laundering, withdrawn from Kazakhstan. According to the Florida court, he was the main intermediary in transactions for the purchase of expensive real estate in New York for front companies Mr.Ablyazov.
The other day the Commercial Court of England and Wales confirmed the ban on the use of assets directly or indirectly owned by Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov. Including those that governed the son of Mr.Khrapunov – Ilyas.
Two years ago, the Commercial Court of England and Wales already passed a decision obliging Mr.Ilyas Khrapunov to disclose all information about his assets, as well as the means that he manages on behalf of Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov around the world.
Now almost «bloodless» Mr.Ablyazov, sitting in a villa on the outskirts of Paris, is trying to repeat the scenario of the Kyrgyz revolution already at home. He created an «Internet party», and promises each person who has entered into it a reward of 1000 USD. He still hopes that his next business project on deceiving Kazakh citizens will be realized, and he will return to his homeland as a hero on a white horse.
However, the more time Mr.Ablyazov sits to Europe, the more interesting facts of his activity come to light.
Completed unexpectedly revealed the details of how Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov became the owner of the bankrupt BTA bank.
Last year, businessman Mr.Muratkhan Tokmadi was detained by policemen in Kazakhstan for racketeering. Bargaining with the investigation, Mr.Tokmadi unexpectedly admitted that, on the orders of Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov, in 2004, the owner of BTA Bank, Mr.Yerzhan Tatishev, was killed. According to Mr.Tokmady, for this Mr.Ablyazov wrote off his debts to the bank in the amount of 4.5 million USD and provided a clean credit history. As Mr.Tokmadi said, later, he repeatedly assisted Mr.Ablyazov in several transactions, cashed in money and took them out with suitcases abroad on special flights. In total, the amount of cash so disbursed was several million USD.
Earlier, it was known that the widow of the murdered owner of BTA Bank in 2005 sold for a nominal amount a controlling stake in the bank to Mr.Ablyazov. Recognition of Mr.Tokmadi shocked Kazakhstan.
Mr.Yerzhan Tatishev was famous and popular in the country as a patron of a banker and his death was seen by many as a personal grief.
However, playing business and politics, Mr.Ablyazov never considered human lives. They were only pawns in his multi-pass games.
As, for example, in the case of the financing of the Rose Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005. Then, Mr.Ablyazov’s protege Mr.Kurmanbek Bakiyev came to the place of the deposed president Mr.Askar Akayev. More than a thousand civilians died in local clashes with government forces. In addition, the country was on the verge of a civil war because of ethnic clashes. The economy of Kyrgyzstan was thrown back a decade ago. And Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov «cheaply bought» several large profitable Kyrgyz enterprises, as well as a number of elite hotels and land in the tourist zones of the country. Subsequently, part of these assets was sold to Mr.Ablyazov back to the government of Kyrgyzstan, but for much more money.
Now Mr.Mukhtar Ablyazov is cornered. European Themis is increasingly inclined to stop playing «democratic games» with scammers internationally. So, before Mr.Ablyazov, the prospect of being extradited to his homeland is shining more clearly, where he is sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison. However, this will happen if France follows the path of Great Britain and launches «laundering» from the image of the covering criminals. Meanwhile, Paris isn’t in hurry. Apparently, the indulgence, bought by Mr.Ablyazov from the socialists, still has force. How long?
Views exprssed are not of The CAP