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Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank recovers rights to port construction in China — board chairman

The enterprise referred to is known as Kazoil-Astana Group, incorporated in Hong Kong in 2001

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The High Court of Hong Kong made a decision to return rights to a frozen seaport development project in China to Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank, the bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Kenes Rakishev told TASS on Monday.

"We have recovered the rights to an enterprise established for construction of a mooring facility in Tieshangang Port in Beihai, Guangxi Province of China," Rakishev said.

The enterprise referred to is known as Kazoil-Astana Group, incorporated in Hong Kong in 2001. The company received a huge loan later by the decision of ex-CEO of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov. The company’s debt amounts to $32 mln now, Rakishev noted.

In particular, a land plot in the port, an appropriate license, and a permit to build the seaport and all infrastructural facilities were returned to BTA Bank, the banker said. The appraised value of the undertaking is $10-15 mln. "We need to hold a more accurate assessment of the status and prospects and finalize legal paperwork for the asset. We may probably find an investor for this project later on," Rakishev added.

Frozen assets

In 2014, the High Court of Hong Kong froze assets and shares of Kazoil-Astana Group and Maxray Logistics, which according to the court could be related to the ex-CEO of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Ablyazov Case

Ablyazov left Kazakhstan in 2009, following the bankruptcy announcement and nationalization of BTA Bank. Criminal cases related to suspected embezzling of bank assets, fraud, documents forging and abuse of power were opened against the ex-banker in Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. In particular, the ex-CEO of BTA Bank is charged with embezzlement of $5 bln in Russia.

The BTA Bank initiated proceedings against Ablyazov in the United Kingdom, where the ex-banker initially resided. The High Court of London recognized the lawfulness of presented claims in 2011 and Ablyazov fled to France, where he was detained in 2013.

New owners of BTA bank achieved freezing of $4.5 bln worth assets of Ablyazov in the High Court of London in 2017 and commenced proceedings for recovery of assets. The long-delayed construction site on the Paveletsky Railway Terminal Square in downtown Moscow is the most well known Russian asset subjected to return. Construction of a shopping center was started by an Ablyazov’s company in 2008 and has not been completed since then.