MOSCOW, December 1 - RAPSI. A court issued arrest warrants for the two businessmen who allegedly misappropriated at least $730 million from Kazakhstan's BTA Bank as part of a criminal group, the Interior Ministry's investigative department reported on Thursday.

In October 2010, the Moscow District Court issued an arrest warrant for former BTA Bank CEO Mukhtar Ablyazov, allegedly head of the gang now staying in the United Kingdom, who is accused of defrauding the bank for $4.5 billion.

Now the court sanctioned the arrest of East Bridge Capital General Director Alexander Udovenko and Eurasia Logistics Board Chairman Artur Trofimov, who are also accused of fraud and forgery. Since the suspects are escaping from justice the arrest warrants were issued in absentia.

Investigators believe that the accused have stolen BTA Bank's funds jointly with a number of other individuals.

Investigators maintain that the businessmen agreed on purchasing 2,500 hectares in the Moscow Region. Then, on behalf of six offshore companies, they prepared fake applications for a $730 million bank loan to purchase the land and construct cottages.

They spent a small portion of the loan on purchasing land to be pledged as security and largely overestimated its value.

The suspects allegedly spent the stolen funds for personal purposes.

The suspects may face up to ten years in prison if convicted.

BTA Bank is the second largest bank in Kazakhstan in terms of assets. It operates 22 affiliates and 193 offices.