Canada court freezes Kyrgyzstan assets at Latvian banker's request

The Canadian province of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has arrested Kyrgyzstan's assets worth $20.5 million CAD (€14.6 mln) in Centerra Gold gold mining company, ruling in favor of Latvian banker Valerijs Belokons over the nationalization of Manas Bank in Kyrgyzstan, representatives of Belokon Holding announced Tuesday.

The company said that Belokon had petitioned the Canadian court after Kyrgyzstan's government in the agreed terms had not performed the ruling of the UN’s international court of arbitration in Paris, which had ordered the Kyrgyz government to pay $16.5 million USD to Belokons to compensate him for the bank's takeover.

"The Canadian court will now decide on enforced implementation of the arbitration court's decision in Canada," said Belokon Holding representatives, recalling that in line with the UN New York convention, in case the other party misses the compliance deadline, the winning party may achieve an enforced implementation of the decision, turning against the country's assets in any member state of the convention.

On October 24, 2014 an international court of arbitration in Paris delivered its verdict, ordering the Kyrgyz government to pay $16.5 million USD (€13.8 mln) to  Belokons for the nationalization of Manas Bank in Kyrgyzstan. The ruling of the international court of arbitration has already taken effect and cannot be further appealed.

Belokons had filed a lawsuit against the Kyrgyz government over the nationalization of Manas Bank he used to own in Kyrgyzstan. Belokons asked the court to assess whether the Kyrgyz government had any grounds for the takeover and demanded compensation for the loss of the bank.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government, which came to power as a result of a coup in April 2010, took over five commercial banks operating in Kyrgyzstan, including Manas Bank which belonged to Belokons. The government justified this by citing the need to prevent outflow of funds from bank accounts linked with ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and other former state officials. A criminal case was launched in Kyrgyzstan against Belokons, the key owner of Manas Bank.

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