LONDON, February 24 - RAPSI. Kazakhstan's BTA Bank asked the High Court of Justice in London on Friday to deprive the bank's former CEO Mukhtar Ablyazov of the right to defend himself in court if he does not abide by the court's custodial sentence, RIA Novosti reports.
Pursuant to the request, Ablyazov must surrender to the authorities by 4:00 p.m. Greenwich time (8:00 p.m.Moscow time) on March 2 and disclose his assets by the same time on March 9.
The High Court of Justice sentenced Ablyazov to 22 months in jail for contempt of court last week, but the judgment has yet to be enforced as the offender's whereabouts are so far unknown.
The bank believes that Ablyazov, who violated the court's freezing order on many occasions and was caught manipulating documents, may well do so again.
For this reason, the bank has asked the court to forfeit his right to a further court defense, while the bank will seek to return its stolen assets and obtain compensation for the losses inflicted by its former management. The hearings have been scheduled for late 2012.
The criminal case against Ablyazov was initiated in early 2009 after the state acquired a stake in BTA and the bank slipped under the control of Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna sovereign fund. Ablyazov then fled the country and is now living in the UK. He considers the charges against him politically motivated.
Ablyazov's misappropriations while serving as BTA Bank's CEO are estimated at $4.5 billion. Seven lawsuits have been filed against him.
Russia has also opened a case against Ablyazov. A Moscow district court has issued an arrest warrant for Ablyazov in absentia in October 2010 on charges of large-scale fraud.
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. The banks are hopeful that they will recover at least part of the sum.