We continue our series of articles on the American testimonies of the Kazakh oligarch Kenes Rakishev.
These were voiced by Rakishev in a US court, where the lawsuit of BTA Bank against the former owner of the bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, the former mayor of the capital of Kazakhstan Viktor Khrapunov, and his son Ilyas Khrapunov was considered. The lawyers of the latter tried to prove in court that Rakishev is only a nominal owner of BTA Bank. In reality, the bank is controlled by people from the top of Kazakhstan, and it is these people who are behind the persecution of Ablyazov and the Khrapunovs. The names of these individuals from the top echelons, with whom Rakishev personally communicates, were disclosed. Kenes himself confirmed the fact of close communication directly with them or their representatives. These individuals include the head of the National Security Committee Karim Masimov, the son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan Timur Kulibayev, and personally Nursultan Nazarbayev. All these names are in the interrogation protocols of Rakishev, a certified copy of which is available to rucriminal portal. And when the lawyers for the defendants began asking questions about the specific activities of BTA Bank, where Rakishev was the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the time of the interrogation, he clearly struggled. He could not answer questions about BTA’s counterparties, the bank’s agreements, the countries where it is involved in litigation, and so on. An interesting Chairman of the Board of Directors who knows absolutely nothing about the bank, where he is the main owner. Rucriminal publishes a transcript of this part of Rakishev’s interrogation.
A – answers of Kenes Rakishev.
Q: You testified this morning that BTA has legal proceedings in various countries. Which ones?
A: Europe, America, Asia.
Q: These are continents. Which countries?
A: Many countries. Again, as I am not a lawyer, I don’t know all the cases, but I know some cases; I know this issue is being considered in London, in Ukraine, and I am sitting here right now, so in the United States. I just fear listing all the countries because I might miss or forget one, and it would seem like I didn’t name it. So it’s much better to ask the lawyers about it; they will know for sure in which countries.
Q: I don’t think Mr. Schwartz will allow me to ask him about it, although…
A: Well, I actually meant the lawyers of BTA Bank. I think Nulan Nurgabylov will answer all these questions.
Q: I want to try to understand; you are aware of the cases…
MR. SCHWARTZ: What’s really important?
A: I understand that I can say something. But let me give you an illustration. Does your boss know the details of the case you are working on right now?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Managing partner of the firm.
Q: I’m just trying to understand what you know.
A: I know, but I asked a question. Because it looks… Not that I don’t want to talk… Actually, it’s not my prerogative to know the exact number of countries. I don’t know. I know we have something in Europe; we have something in the States, something in Russia, but certainly the exact number of countries, you should ask BTA, officially send a letter, and we will tell you everything.
Q: Do you know where in Europe BTA has its legal proceedings?
A: Again, it’s the same question. I don’t know exactly. I know it’s in England, for sure.
Q: Do you know other places besides England?
Q: Where else, besides England, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA?
A: Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the USA, Russia, there is something else, but I can’t tell you right now because I don’t remember or I don’t know.
Q: Right, I understand that you talked to Russian authorities regarding the litigation in Russia?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Objection.
A: What do you mean by authorities? If you mean law enforcement agencies, yes; authorities, no.
Q: Can you describe how your conversations with Russian law enforcement agencies went regarding the legal process in Russia?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Objection.
A: As I mentioned earlier, BTA Bank is a victim. We asked all countries, including Russia, in particular law enforcement agencies, to help resolve it.
Q: Did you personally speak with law enforcement agencies in any country other than Russia regarding Mr. Ablyazov?
A: No, maybe in Kazakhstan and Russia, that’s all.
Q: Do you know Denity or Elana Petelin (phonetic)?
A: I’m not familiar with them, but I’ve heard of them, heard these names.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: I don’t know them, but I heard about them.
Q: In what context have you heard about them?
A: That they are somehow related to the Khrapunov family.
Q: Do you know if BTA or a person acting on behalf of BTA investigated the financing source of Petelin?
A: No, I don’t know.
Q: Do you personally know anything about the financing source of Petelin?
Q: I will ask the court secretary to mark as Exhibit 1 a document titled ALMATY BTA 0231186 through 226.
(A copy of the document with the title ALMATY BTA 0231186 through ALMATY BTA 0231226, marked for identification, was provided.)
MR. MICHELSON: I note that Mr. Schwartz marked on the record that Mr. Rakishev is covered by a protective order.
MR. SCHWARTZ: The witness is a witness, so he is covered by a protective order. This document remains confidential.
Q: Mr. Rakishev, have you seen this document before?
A: What is the name of this document?
Q: The first line of the document reads, “Settlement Agreement.”
A: I believe that yesterday, during the court preparation, I was shown such a document. I don’t see who signed it.
Q: Let’s turn to page 195.
Q: Who signed this document on behalf of BTA Bank?
A: Rustem Iskakov.
Q: RUSTEM ISKAKOV?
Q: What role does Iskakov play in BTA Bank?
A: He is the Managing Director and a member of the board.
Q: Have you seen this document before yesterday?
Q: Do you know if there were earlier drafts of this document?
A: Such documents come to the board every day.
Q: Can I understand correctly that you were not involved in negotiations on this document?
A: Yes, you are right. The board was not involved.
Q: I draw attention to the section on the first page. Are you aware that BTA this document is dated April 13, 2017? Do you know if BTA entered into agreements with Nikolai Bour and Laurent Fushe before April 13, 2017?
A: My role is not to keep track of the documents going through the board. Because every day they deal with tons of documents.
Q: You did not know
To be continued…