Another Belgian Negligence: The Case of Botagoz Jardemalie

Who is Botagoz Jardemalie?

Jardemalie was born on 10 July 1976 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In 1999 she grad­u­at­ed from Adilet Higher Law School in Almaty. Between 1997 and 1999 she worked as an assis­tant lawyer in the Almaty office of the law firm White & Case.

In 2003, Jardemalie grad­u­at­ed from Harvard Law School, and became a reg­is­tered attor­ney admit­ted in New York State in 2004. She worked as a lawyer for White & Case in New York City. (see here: https://lawyers.justia.com/lawyer/botagoz-jardemalie-1300601)

In November 2005 she is hired as man­ag­ing direc­tor at BTA Bank in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and in October 2008 she becomes a mem­ber of BTA’s Management Board. Incidentally, 2005 is also the year when Mukhtar Ablyazov became the sole own­er of BTA Bank.

After gain­ing own­er­ship of BTA, Ablyazov began cre­at­ing a net­work of off­shore com­pa­nies through which he man­aged to siphon bil­lions of dol­lars from the bank. The Kazakh gov­ern­ment dis­cov­ered the scheme in 2009, when it nation­al­ized BTA. According to Kazakh pros­e­cu­tors, Ablyazov man­aged to steal 7.5 bil­lion dol­lars using his net­work of dum­my cor­po­ra­tions. More about Ablyazov, here: http://www.opensourceinvestigations.com/belgium/kazakhgate-relay-bulat-utemuratov-mukhtar-ablyazov/.

Ablyazov was also strong­ly con­nect­ed to Alexander Potkin, who alleged­ly han­dled the assets belong­ing to Ablyazov in Russia. Potkin is a well-known Russian nation­al­ist, and the for­mer leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI).

Potkin was arrest­ed by the Russian author­i­ties in October 2014. According to inves­ti­ga­tors, Potkin’s work was super­vised by Ablyazov’s clos­est allies – Ilyas Khrapunov, Ablyazov’s son in law and the son of a for­mer Mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov, and Botagoz Jardemalie.

Former Mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov

In oth­er words, Jardemalie was hired by Ablyazov to help him with his dar­ing scheme to siphon bil­lions of dol­lars out of Kazakhstan through his off­shore companies.

In 2009, Jardemalie resigned from all her posi­tions in BTA – and fled the coun­try, just like Ablyazov. Sources say that Jardemalie was also Ablyazov’s mistress.

She is mar­ried with Peter Sztyk, own­er of New World Oil & Gas.

Business in Belgium

In September 2012, Jardemalie and her hus­band cre­at­ed a com­pa­ny in Brussels, Belgium: Botagoz Jardemalie SPRL. The com­pa­ny was locat­ed at Chaussée de Louvain 467, 1030 Schaerbeek, Brussels, and offered con­sul­tan­cy on cross-bor­der lit­i­ga­tion cas­es and on man­ag­ing projects devel­oped between the European Union and Kazakhstan.

Botagoz_Belgium_2012

Later, on 13 March 2013, the com­pa­ny changed its name to Ponte Mundi, and Jardomalie was appoint­ed man­ag­ing director.

Botagoz_Belgium_2013

The arrest warrant and afterwards

On 4 May 2013, Kazakhstani author­i­ties issued an inter­na­tion­al arrest war­rant on Jardemalie’s name, accus­ing her of “mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion or embez­zle­ment of entrust­ed prop­er­ty” in rela­tion to the posi­tions she held at BTA Bank.

In spite of this, noth­ing hap­pened to her, and she was able to vis­it Belgium on at least two occa­sions, with­out being ques­tioned by the Belgian authorities.

The first vis­it took place on February 2nd 2016, when Jardemalie and her hus­band sell Ponte Mundi to Ruchat Lexial, a law firm.

Botagoz_Belgium_sept_2016_1

The sec­ond vis­it hap­pened on 5 September 2016, when Jardemalie resigns from her posi­tion as man­ag­ing direc­tor at Ponte Mundi.

Botagoz_Belgium_sept_2016_2

On all these doc­u­ments, Jardemalie and her hus­band clear­ly satate their address: apart­ment 4100, Le Reve res­i­den­tial tow­er, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The French connection

As not­ed ear­li­er, the address of Botagoz Jardemalie SPRL and then of Ponte Mundi is Chaussée de Louvain 467, Brussels, Belgium. This is also the address of Ruchat Lexial, the law firm that even­tu­al­ly became the own­er of Ponte Mundi.

Ruchat Lexial was found­ed by Emmanuel Ruchat, a high­ly con­nect­ed expert in immi­gra­tion law, crim­i­nal and polit­i­cal law. In Brussels, Ruchat leads a LREM com­mit­tee (a polit­i­cal move­ment cre­at­ed by the French President Emmanuel Macron). In France, he worked with for­mer Ministry Michel Barnier with­in the frame­work of “New Republic,” as well as with Senator Jean-Marie Bockel (“Gauche Moderne”). He par­tic­i­pat­ed in draw­ing up with MEP Alain Lamassoure a report titled “Citizens and European law enforce­ment,” sub­mit­ted to anoth­er French President, Nicholas Sarkozy.

Well, this lawyer with top con­nec­tions both in Belgium and in France host­ed and then bought a com­pa­ny owned by Botagoz Jardemalie, a per­son want­ed for “mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion or embez­zle­ment of entrust­ed prop­er­ty.” This rais­es tons of questions.

A Belgian failure

While Kazakhstani author­i­ties are doing every­thing in their pow­er to recov­er the bil­lions of dol­lars stolen by Ablyazov and to appre­hend him and Jardemalie, the Belgian intel­li­gence failed to dis­cov­er that an inter­na­tion­al fugi­tive was doing busi­ness in Brussels. The Belgian author­i­ties didn’t seem to notice the pres­ence of Jardemalie in their coun­try. Nobody ever asked her any ques­tions about her pres­ence in Belgium.

Mukhtar Ablyazov

Also wor­ry­ing is that this is the sec­ond con­nec­tion between Belgium and Mukhtar Ablyazov. OSI dis­cov­ered that a promi­nent Belgian busi­ness­man, Frank Monstrey, act­ed as a front of Ablyazov. (See here: http://www.opensourceinvestigations.com/belgium/hidden-belgium-strange-case-frank-monstrey/)

By all accounts, the Belgian author­i­ties’ fail­ure to dis­cov­er the pres­ence of Jardemalie is a gross neg­li­gence – and pro­vides anoth­er exam­ple of incom­pe­tence. Time will tell whether this incom­pe­tence was will­ful or not.

Written by Open source investigations

Another Belgian Negligence: The Case of Botagoz Jardemalie

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