Moscow’s Court Sentences Former Chairman of BTA Bank to 15 Years of Prison in Absentia

A Moscow-based court sentenced the former chairman of the board of directors of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov to 15 years in prison in absentia. This was reported on Dec. 28 by the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office, according to Russian state news Agency TASS.

“The Tagansky District Court of Moscow passed a verdict in absentia against the former chairman of the board of directors of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, the chairman of the board of the same bank Roman Solodchenko, as well as their subordinates Artur Trofimov, Igor Kononko, Tatyana Paraskevich, Anatoly Ereshchenko and Alexander Udovenko. They are found guilty of committing crimes under part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Fraud), part 3 of article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (legalization of property obtained as a result of the commission of a crime), as well as subparagraphs “a,” “b” Part 3 of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (causing particularly large damage by deception by an organized group),” the statement says.

Ablyazov was sentenced to 15 years in prison, Kononko – to 10, Paraskevich – to 12 years in prison. Ereshchenko and Udovenko were sentenced to 13 years in prison each. All of them are due to serve their sentences in a correction colony. The court also satisfied the civil claim of BTA Bank for over $2.3 billion. 

The court found that in 2006-2009 Ablyazov and his subordinates stole more than $787 million from the bank. To do this, they issued loans secured by land plots acquired with borrowed funds. Subsequently, Ablyazov organized the illegal termination of the mortgage agreements, and the bank was deprived of the opportunity to foreclose on the acquired purchases, while the accomplices disposed of the property at their own discretion.

Moving fast, during the preliminary investigation, arrests were imposed, land plots confiscated, shares of offshore companies that are Ablyazov’s assets, as well as accounts and residential real estate of other accomplices frozen. The total amount of the seized property is estimated at more than $325 million. 

The convicted bankers are now all on the wanted list.

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