LONDON (Reuters) – The grandson of the former president of Kazakhstan and other respondents have submitted a demand for 1.5 million pounds in costs from Britain’s National Crime Agency after the High Court struck down anti-graft orders against them, a spokeswoman said.
The demand for costs underscores the difficulties Britain has faced in its use of so-called Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), which were introduced in 2018 to freeze illicit wealth but which critics say have been used clumsily and without proper investigation.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) had sought Unexplained Wealth Orders against companies which owned properties connected to Nurali Aliyev, the grandson of former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
But the High Court in April ruled in favour of Aliyev over the house connected to him and discharged the orders against the companies which owned the other properties. An NCA appeal against the ruling was dismissed.
“The beneficial owners and the foundations named as respondents are claiming costs totalling 1.5 million pounds,” said a spokeswoman for Aliyev on Monday.
“The NCA’s entire case theory, and much of its evidence, came from uncorroborated public source material,” the spokeswoman said, adding that a judge had already ordered the NCA to make an interim payment on account of 500,000 pounds in costs by July 8.
A spokesman for the NCA declined to make an immediate comment.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton and Andrew Heavens)