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Civil fraud and asset recovery, Banking and financial services, Commercial disputes, International / offshoreFriday 9 February 2024

JSC BTA Bank v Sabyrbaev and others

Judgment has been handed down by the BVI Commercial Court in what is the latest episode in the global Ablyazov litigation; in this claim against 54 defendants, Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank alleges it has been the victim of a fraudulent scheme involving the issue of high letters of credit resulting in losses of approximately US$230 million. In May 2022 BTA issued ex parte applications seeking, inter alia, permission to serve the non-resident defendants out of the jurisdiction. Those defendants applied successfully to set aside the orders giving permission to serve out, including on the basis that the test for the relevant jurisdictional gateways under the BVI Civil Procedure Rules had not been met.

The judgment provides a comprehensive survey of the law applicable to service out of the jurisdiction in the BVI, including the duty of full and frank disclosure, and provides a salutary warning to litigants seeking to use BVI incorporated ‘Anchor Defendants’ as a hook through which to bring their real targets within the jurisdiction of the BVI courts.

Thomas Grant KC and Tara Taylor were instructed by Maples Group and acted for two of the successful defendants.

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