Addleshaws cuts ties with controversial Ablyazov litigation

Addleshaw Goddard has decided to step away from the $6bn embezzlement fight against Kazakhstan’s JSC BTA Bank chair Mukhtar Ablyazov, we reveal today.

The firm is the third to disentangle itself from the long-running litigation. Clyde & Co was originally instructed in 2009, followed by Stephenson Harwood, which was brought in later that year.

Addleshaws then stepped in to represent Ablyazov in 2011, months after he fled the country to avoid a 22-month jail sentence for contempt of court.

The firm decided to make a strategic withdrawal during a hiatus in court proceedings while it established who is to fund the disclosure exercise ordered in a High Court judgment in August.

In the meantime, BTA is trying to force disclosure of documents held by Addleshaws, Clydes and Stephensen Harwood on Ablyazov and his brother-in-law’s assets, which were previously withheld on the grounds of professional privilege.

So who will take on the case? The firm’s decision to cut ties with the case comes at the same time as lead partner Richard Leedham quits to join Mishcon de Reya. Whether or not Mishcon will decide to take on Ablyazov with Leedham remains to be seen.

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