ASTANA -- Authorities in Kazakhstan say a Dutch court has lifted a freeze on Kazakh sovereign-fund assets worth $22 billion.
The Kazakh Justice Ministry said in a statement on January 24 that it was also seeking the cancelation of a court ruling in Belgium that had frozen some other assets of Central Asia's leading economy.
The assets held by the fund's custodian, Bank of New York Mellon, were frozen in October 2017 following a lawsuit by Moldovan businessman Anatolie Stati, who seeks to enforce a $500 million arbitration ruling against the Astana government.
Stati, his son Gabriel, and two family-controlled companies have been involved in legal battles with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s government for several years.
The Statis, who invested in Kazakhstan's oil and gas industry, claim they were subjected to significant harassment from the state aimed at forcing them to sell their investments cheaply.
Kazakhstan has denied the allegations and filed a civil racketeering lawsuit in a federal U.S. court against the Statis and their two firms in October.
Stati said earlier in January that he would demand the sale of a $5.2 billion stake in the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan if the Kazakh government refused to pay an arbitration award.
Kazakhstan has refused to pay, accusing Stati of using fraudulent means to secure a favorable arbitration ruling and filing lawsuits against him.