ALMA-ATA, February 20 - RAPSI. Law enforcement agencies are searching forformer BTA Bank head Mukhtar Ablyazov, 48, sentenced by the High Court of Justice to 22 months in jail for contempt of court, said BTA First Deputy Board Chairman Nikolai Varenko.

The judge has rejected Ablyazov's motion for judgment suspension and declared him guilty on all four counts: false testimony about his ownership of companies and property, and continued management of his assets in breach of the freezing order.

Ablyazov, who received asylum in the UK in 2011, did not attend the hearing saying it was against his interests, however, there were no any credible information that he might be escaping justice.

According to Varenko, pursuant to the established procedure bailiffs are now searching for Ablyazov.

The High Court heard BTA Bank's lawsuit against the Kazakh oligarch in November-December 2011. The bank sought to imprison Ablyazov for contempt of court. The hearing was held as part of the current proceedings initiated by BTA in order to regain the assets and offset losses inflicted by bank's former head Ablyazov.

The case of BTA Bank vs Mukhtar Ablyazov and six co-defendants are expected to be heard by the year end.

Investigators maintain Ablyazov embezzled in total about $5 billion while he was the bank's head. Nine lawsuits have been filed against him.

Sources close to the situation told RIA Novosti such UK banks as HSBC, Standard Chartered, RBS and Barclays have also sustained consequential losses amounting to $500 million. In the event of success the banks are hopeful that they will recover at least part of the sum.

A Moscow district court issued an arrest warrant for Ablyazov in absentia in October 2010 at the Russian Interior Ministry's request on charge of large-scale fraud.
In May a UK court denied political motivation in the bank's lawsuit against its former head and upheld its validity.