Hogan Lovells seeks $2bn enforcement against Addleshaws client Ablyazov

Hogan Lovells has entered judgment in the High Court against the former chairman of Kazakhstan’s JSC BTA Bank, Muktar Ablyazov, after successfully debarring him from defending a $6bn claim.

Lead partner Chris Hardman confirmed that the bank had entered judgment for $2bn and will begin enforcement proceedings to recover funds for the bank and its creditors. JSC BTA had alleged that Ablyazov had embezzled funds from the bank.

The move follows a Court of Appeal (CoA) judgment in early November ruling that Ablyazov could not overturn a committal order against him (6 November 2012).

It also follows another CoA victory for Hogan Lovells. Addleshaw Goddard, acting for Ablyazov, had turned to the CoA in a second attempt to force Mr Justice Teare to recuse himself from the case. In early November (1 November 2012) Teare J refused to recuse himself, and the CoA upheld that decision on 28 November.

Lords Justice Maurice Kay, Rix and Toulson said that the application for recusal was “a tactical decision, designed to derail the trial” and that Ablyazov should have made the application earlier following judgments in the case in February this year.

In his leading judgment Rix LJ said: “Mr Ablyazov is an intelligent man, an experienced litigant, and has always had access to the best of legal advice; and it is Mr Ablyazov’s own case that the unsuitability of the judge on the ground of apparent bias was known to him at latest at the time of the February judgments.”

In the latest CoA hearing Addleshaw partners Ian Hargreaves and Richard Leedham instructed Charles Béar QC of Fountain Court and Maitland Chambers’ James Sheehan for Ablyazov.

Hardman instructed New Square Chambers’ Stephen Smith QC, Tim Akkouh and Emily Gillett for the bank.