* BTA says billions misappropriated under Ablyazov
* BTA's application "baseless" - Ablyazov spokesperson
* Bad results spur BTA's judicial activity - spokesperson
* BTA Eurobond "finds base" after record fall - fund manager
* Fugitive BTA head earlier said wanted to join opposition
(Adds Ablyazov's spokesman)
By Dmitry Solovyov
ALMATY, May 18 BTA BTAS.KZ, Kazakhstan's No. 3
bank by assets, has asked Britain to arrest its former head
Mukhtar Ablyazov, from whom it seeks billions of dollars in
compensation for alleged misappropriation.
One of Kazakhstan's richest men, Ablyazov was part of Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbayev's inner circle and ran BTA, the
country's largest bank at the time, before he fell out with the
state and fled to London in 2009.
After BTA defaulted during the global financial crisis in
2009, it was nationalised under a billion-dollar debt
restructuring programme. Sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna now
owns 81.5 percent of BTA, and creditors have the rest.
"BTA Bank has issued committal proceedings in the English
High Court against its former Chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov," BTA
Chief Executive Anvar Saidenov said in a statement.
"By those proceedings, the bank is seeking to have Mr.
Ablyazov committed to prison for what the bank considers to be
numerous breaches of injunction orders made against him in the
court actions by which the bank is claiming over $4 billion in
An Ablyazov spokesperson said: "Mr. Ablyazov considers this
application to be baseless and will be defending it vigorously."
"These applications to court are nothing more than an
attempt by the government of Kazakhstan and its State Fund
Samruk-Kazyna to avoid responsibility for BTA's impending
default following nationalisation, and the subsequent misleading
of the creditors throughout the debt restructuring process."
BTA said last week it expected a small increase in net
profit this year after completing its debt restructuring in
But on Monday BTA'S 2025 Eurobond issue traded at a record
low 56 cents on the dollar.
A fund manager told Reuters on Wednesday that the sharp fall
in the bond price had been due to "large differences between the
unaudited accounts, which they (BTA) issued quite a few months
ago, and the audited IFRS accounts which they issued last week."
"The audited accounts gave the bank negative equity and
negative cashflow," the manager said, adding the bond "has found
a base". "All the negative news is now out, people are looking
to maybe pick up a few bonds and it will trickle higher."
Ablyazov told Reuters in an interview last August that he
wants to work with opposition leaders to push for political
change in Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy and oil
producer which Nazarbayev has ruled for two decades.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Additional reporting by Carolyn
Cohn in London; Editing by David Holmes and Louise Heavens)