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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
December 27, 2021, Decided; December 27, 2021, Filed
21 Misc. 824 (GHW) (GWG)
OPINION AND ORDER
GABRIEL W. GORENSTEIN, United States Magistrate Judge
JSC BTA Bank ("BTA") has applied pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for an order authorizing BTA to issue and serve subpoenas duces tecum on The Clearing House Payments Company LLC ("Clearing House") and 13 banks. An individual named Ilyas Khrapunov has objected to the application and has moved to intervene.1
BTA seeks subpoenas to obtain evidence that would allow it to collect on judgments and enforce worldwide asset freezing orders previously rendered in its favor by the High Court of England and Wales, as well as to support ongoing and contemplated claims in England and elsewhere. See Kislin Decl. ¶¶ 2-51. All such claims, orders, and judgments arise out of Mukhtar Ablyazov's misappropriation [*2] and subsequent laundering of billions of dollars' worth of BTA's assets. See id. BTA asserts that Ablyazov and his son-in-law Ilyas Khrapunov have been and continue to be actively engaged in a sophisticated scheme to conceal Ablyazov's ill-gotten gains through a complex web of shell companies and financial transactions. See id. One such company, Panolos Limited ("Panolos"), is not yet subject to an English judgment and is at issue here. See id. ¶ 39.
BTA contends that Panolos, a corporation registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is beneficially owned by Khrapunov and, in 2014, was transferred a 99.98% interest in another shell company, Anidam, which in 2011 had purchased certain real property in France with illicit funds. See id. ¶¶ 41-48. Anidam has since dissolved, and BTA notes that if the property was sold prior to the dissolution, "Panolos would have received the proceeds of said sale." Id. ¶ 49. "Given the propensity for individuals involved in the Ablyazov-Khrapunov Money Laundering Scheme to effect US dollar denominated transactions," BTA suspects that any such proceeds may "have been transferred from or passed through correspondent banks to the banks with which Panolos [*3] kept bank accounts." Id. ¶ 50. Moreover, BTA asserts that "given Panolos['] involvement in the Ablyazov-Khrapunov Money Laundering Scheme, information relating to US dollar denominated transactions from bank accounts owned by Panolos, or their correspondent banks, is likely to reveal information relevant to tracing the proceeds of the fraud against BTA, and may also identify additional potential defendants to BTA's equitable proprietary tracing claims before the English Courts." Id.
BTA's proposed subpoenas seek "all documents, communications, correspondence, or information relating to payment transactions, specifically CHIPS and intermediary bank payment messages, naming or referencing, or made by, through or on behalf of, any entity named 'Panolos' or containing 'Panolos' in the entity name."2 Proposed Subpoenas.
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2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 245819 *; 2021 WL 6111916
IN RE: APPLICATION OF JSC BTA BANK FOR AN ORDER TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY FOR USE IN FOREIGN PROCEEDINGS
discovery, subpoenas, proceedings, Laundering, intervene, tribunal, banks, correspondent, transactions