One of the biggest fraud trials in British history, arising from a fight for
control of an aluminium smelter in Tajikistan, is heading for the High Court,
expecting to cost almost £90m in legal fees based on hourly rates of the City’s
top lawyer at £750 – only slightly below Tajikistan’s annual per capita GDP.
The case surrounds allegations of bribery and corruption by Talco, a
state-owned Tajikistan aluminium smelter against its former business partner
Azar Nazarov, a Tajikistan businessman who is now based in the UK, The Times
Talco claims Nazarov and Ansol, his Guernsey holding company, sucked more
than $500m (£315m) in profits from the smelter from 1996 to 2004 through a
corrupt relationship with the plant’s former manager.
It further alleges extravagant bribes were paid, including a £300,000 flat in
Marylebone for the manager’s son to use. In a separate action in the British
Virgin Islands, Talco has also accused Rusal, Ansol’s former joint venture
partner, of being involved in the fraud, but failed in a bid to include the
Russian company as a defendant in the case in London.
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