UK court bars fugitive Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov from oral submissions

ASTANA. July 19. KAZINFORM An English judge has barred lawyers representing fugitive Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling $6 billion from his former bank BTA , from making oral submissions to court because he has been serially in contempt of court, Kazinform refers to Kazakh MFA's press service.

High Court Judge Andrew Popplewell said Ablyazov, who has been in hiding since being given a 22-month jail sentence for contempt of court last year, had flouted court orders including those calling for him to hand himself in and fully divulge his assets.

BTA, controlled by Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, has brought 11 fraud charges against Ablyazov in a tortuous legal battle that, to date, has seen the bank win court approval to seize around $3.7 billion of his assets.

Ablyazov, an entrepreneur and former Kazakh government minister, fled Kazakhstan in 2009 after the bank he once controlled was seized by the government and declared insolvent. He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011.

He denies allegations he says are designed to rob him and eliminate him as a rival to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He has said his life has been in danger since he left Kazakhstan and he feared for his safety in a British jail.

Judge Popplewell said "justice requires that Mr Ablyazov should not be heard", in a judgment made public on Thursday.

"His deliberate and persistent refusal to comply with court orders, or to recognise the authority of the court, has been a sustained contempt of a very grave nature. His contempt has seriously impeded the course of justice," he said.

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