US Court Recognizes Ablyazov Guilty of Money Laundering, Awards BTA Bank $218 Million

ASTANA – The United States (US) District Court for the Southern District of New York on Dec. 15 ruled in favor of BTA Bank in the case against Mukhtar Ablyazov and his shell company Triadou SPV S.A., reported the bank’s press service.

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The jury awarded BTA bank a compensation of more than $100 million with interest dating to mid-2013, totaling $218 million.

“For the first time in more than a decade of BTA Bank’s worldwide recovery efforts, this case presented the opportunity for jurors to hear directly from the criminals at the heart of this conspiracy.  After doing so, the jury unanimously agreed that BTA Bank was defrauded by Mukhtar Ablyazov and awarded significant damages against Triadou for its role in the scheme,” said Matthew L. Schwartz, managing partner of Boies Schiller Flexner and counsel to BTA Bank.

The trial began on Nov. 29 and was the first time that BTA Bank has presented evidence of the massive fraud and money laundering scheme orchestrated by Mukhtar Ablyazov.  

Throughout the three-week trial, the jury heard testimony from former bank employees, American investors who dealt with the stolen funds, and individuals involved in the money laundering scheme. In returning a verdict, the jury concluded that Tridaou had knowingly laundered money stolen by Ablyazov from BTA.

Triadou, a shell company created and controlled by Ablyazov’s son-in-law Ilyas Khrapunov, received more than $70 million in money stolen from BTA, which it invested in real estate in New York City and elsewhere in the US. 

The New York proceedings on behalf of the city of Almaty and BTA Bank were initiated more than seven years ago, accusing Mukhtar Ablyazov and his criminal associates of laundering stolen money into the US. At the time of the revelation of the fraud in early 2009, BTA was Kazakhstan’s third-largest bank.  The multi-billion dollar theft perpetrated by Ablyazov resulted in the bank’s nationalization, costing taxpayers more than a billion dollars.

During the proceedings, BTA and Almaty demonstrated that Ablyazov, Ilyas Khrapunov, and former Almaty mayor Viktor Khrapunov disobeyed court orders, destroyed evidence, and refused to make required disclosures. As a result, various judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered numerous orders sanctioning Ablyazov and the Khrapunovs, ultimately holding Ablyazov in contempt.

BTA nonetheless gathered substantial evidence of Ablyazov’s crimes and secured the testimony of numerous witnesses to those crimes, which was presented to the trial jury, resulting in today’s verdict.

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