'Wanted Man: The Story of Mukhtar Ablyazov'. Book launch in Brussels

Wanted Man: The Story of Mukhtar Ablyazov, by British author and publishing editor of EU Today Gary Cartwright, launched at the Brussels Press Club on April 2nd, is an astonishing tale of the man described by the London Evening Standard as “The World’s Richest Fraudster”. 

The story begins in the modest village of Galkino in the South Region of Kazakhstan on May 16th, 1963, when Mukhtar Kabyluly Ablyazov came into the world, and takes us across continents, into courtrooms and prison cells, and even touches upon the business interests of the President of the United States. This is a tale of embezzlement of the highest order, of contract killing, of sex and intrigue. 

Ablyazov, as head of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank was to embezzle vast sums of money, with some estimates of his haul being as high as $10 billion, although the author settles for the figure of $7.6 billion as the most realistic figure.

In order to reach this position as head of Kazakhstan’s largest financial institution Ablyazov first had to remove his predecessor, Yerzhan Tatishev, from the equation.  What was originally believed to be a hunting accident was sensationally revealed by the man holding the gun to have been a murder, ordered by Ablyazov himself.

After his fraud was discovered - The Royal Bank of Scotland alone lost $1.8 billion of pension funds invested with BTA - Ablyazov went on the run, leaving a trail of crime behind him. As well as having served 10 months in a Kazakh jail and having outstanding convictions in his home country, he has a 22 month jail sentence waiting for him in the UK, should he ever return there and has spent two years languishing in the notorious Fleury-Mérogis Prison on the outskirts of Paris. With 4,100 inmates, it is the largest prison in Europe and is recognised to be a hotbed of Islamic radicalisation. 

With webs of shell companies which straddle the globe threatening democracy at every turn, the story of master fraudster Mukhtar Ablyazov and his entourage is shrouded in deliberately and intricately constructed layers of obfuscation. In his book, Cartwright shines a light on the ex- traordinary antics of the fugitive kleptocrat and his retinue. Exhaustively researched, yet succinct and easily comprehensible, Wanted Man: The Story of Mukhtar Ablyazov lays bare the startling facts behind this opaque tale.

Stephen M. Bland, award-winning author and journalist

Extradition warrants from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are also outstanding, and he and his criminal cohorts stand accused of laundering money through Donald Trump’s property enterprises.

The book has managed to show, in an easily comprehensible way, how what may appear at first to be a series of financial crimes by a number of individuals  acting alone, and in different countries are actually the work of a major international crime syndicate headed by Ablyazov.

The characters in this story are remarkable; as the author himself stated “nobody in this book could be described as normal.”

In August 2018, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that Ilyas Khrapunov had conspired with Mukhtar Ablyazov to swindle over $6 billion. Court documents openly suggest that some of this vast sum is likely to have been laundered through the real estate empire of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Author Gary Cartwright.

A father and son, both on Interpol’s ‘Red List’ of the most wanted criminals, Viktor Khrapunov and his son Ilyas, both currently resident in Switzerland, have both been named as accomplices in Ablyazov’s crimes. 

Viktor Khrapunov, a former Mayor of Almaty, has been the subject of no less than twenty criminal prosecutions and was found guilty of defrauding the Kazakh state to the tune of some $300 million.  In the High Court of England and Wales he was named as being complicit in Ablyazov’s illegal disposal of assets - a move forbidden by the courts. 

His son, Ilyas, who is married to Ablyazov’s eldest daughter, has been accused in the same courts of laundering Ablyazov’s ill gotten gains through President Donald Trump’s property enterprises. 

The launch was attended by journalists, as well as diplomats representing some of the countries most affected by Ablyazov’s nefarious activities.

WANTED MAN: The Story of Mukhtar Ablyazov is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1910886955

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Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune is a Paris-based freelance journalist, and an occasional contributor to EU Today. He has a background in intelligence gathering, and he specialises in business and political matters, with a particular interest in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

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