U.S. court rules in favour of $520 million arbitration against Kazakhstan

ALMATY, March 26 (Reuters) - A court in the United States has ruled in favour of a Moldovan businessman seeking to enforce a $520 million arbitration award against Kazakhstan.

The businessman, Anatolie Stati, has already had a number of court rulings in his favour in Europe in this case, which has led to the freezing of around $28 billion in Kazakh government and sovereign funds’ assets in several European countries.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its ruling in favour of Stati on March 23, Stati’s press office said in a statement on Monday. The court has also published the judge’s opinion on its website.

“The court ... recognised the arbitral award, meaning that a U.S. court judgment will be issued for the full amount of the award,” Stati’s press office said.

Stati, his son Gabriel and two family-controlled companies have been involved in legal battles with the Kazakh government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev for several years.

They invested in Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry and have alleged that they were subjected to harassment from the state aimed at forcing them to sell their investments cheaply. They and two of their companies won an arbitration award of around $500 million in Sweden against the government.

Kazakhstan denies the allegations, says the arbitration was won through fraud, and has countersued in several countries.

Kazakhstan’s central bank, which manages a sovereign fund invested in U.S. securities, did not reply to a request for comment on the court ruling on Monday. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov. Editing by Jane Merriman)