The man accused of being the world's biggest fraudster has been hit with a record-breaking Ј4billion court order by a London judge.
Mukhtar Ablyazov, who lives in The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, is being sued in civil actions for Ј1.27billion but is alleged to be behind a fraud of up to Ј7.6billion. He strongly denies the claims against him.
High Court judge Mr Justice Teare described him as untrustworthy when he was required to disclose the entire extent of his assets. The judge ordered Ј4billion of his wealth into receivership, saying he believed that Mr Ablyazov "cannot be trusted" to comply with an asset-freezing order.
Three Appeal Court judges upheld the move, pointing out that Mr Ablyazov, the former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, had failed to mention his ownership of the Eurasia Tower in Docklands and noting: "An asset the size of Canary Wharf can hardly have slipped his mind."
Legal sources say Ј4billion is the biggest sum ever placed into receivership in a case of this kind. It is also very rare for receivers to be appointed before the start of a trial, which has been delayed by marathon legal proceedings.
Barrister and author Mark Watson-Gaudy, a visiting professor in corporate finance law at the University of Westminster, said: "Receivership orders and freezing injunctions are the nuclear weapons in the court's armoury to try to ensure judgments bite.
"This is a good day for lawyers, and a bad day for the super-rich."
Mr Ablyazov, 47, is being sued by BTA, which is now virtually state-owned. The bank's lawyers claim that losses run up while he was in charge add up to nearly Ј7.59billion, and allege that a vast chunk of bank cash reserves was diverted to companies he secretly owned.
He is defending six civil actions against him which may not finish until 2012. This year a judge froze his assets and ordered him to surrender his passport and disclose full details of his wealth to the bank's London lawyers.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is among major Western banks forced to write off billions of dollars invested in BTA. If Mr Ablyazov hands over the money, RBS - 83 per cent owned by the Government - and the other creditors will share 50 per cent of the clawback.
The father of four, who founded a major Kazakhstan opposition party, says he is the innocent victim of political and financial persecution by the former Soviet Union republic's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.