MOSCOW, March 11 (RAPSI) - The Court of Appeals in Lyon, France, has dismissed a motion lodged by Kazakh tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov, who stands charged with embezzling over $6 billion from BTA Bank, to release him from custody, RIA Novosti reported Friday citing the bank’s press service.
The motion was filed on March 8. Defense lawyers insist that the detention of Ablyazov is groundless because France has not brought any charges against him.
The court reportedly ruled that there is a risk of Ablyazov’s “escape or disappearance”.
In March 2015, France's top court approved the extradition to Russia or Ukraine of Ablyazov.
Ablyazov served as the chairman of BTA Bank. He fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA Bank in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011. However, he remained a fugitive from justice since February 2012.
His whereabouts remained unknown until he was detained on July 31, 2013 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking his extradition.
While he has been held in contempt of court in England, civil contempt is not an extraditable offense. Thus the UK is not among the countries seeking his extradition.
The bank has filed 11 separate sets of proceedings in England and Wales seeking to recover money that the bank claims was fraudulently misappropriated by Ablyazov when he was at the helm.
Specifically, the bank alleges that acting in concert with various other members of the bank’s former leadership, Ablyazov misappropriated funds for his own benefit by use of a network of offshore companies.
A Moscow district court issued an arrest warrant for Ablyazov in absentia in October 2010 at the Russian Interior Ministry's request on charge of large-scale fraud.