MOSCOW, May 17 - RAPSI. The High Court of Justice in London has allowed former Kazakh BTA Bank head Mukhtar Ablyazov to appeal his 22-month jail sentence for contempt of court. BTA Bank has opposed Ablyazov’s appeal.

Ablyazov is suspected of stealing the bank’s funds via fly-by-night companies. He reportedly embezzled nearly $5 billion. The bank filed a total of nine lawsuits against him so far.

In August 2009, BTA Bank won a court order to freeze the bank’s assets reportedly owned by Ablyazov. He was also prohibited from leaving the UK until the court issued further orders.

In May 2011, the bank filed a motion to arrest Ablyazov for contempt of court and concealing information about his assets.

Ablyazov disobeyed court orders nearly 30 times, according to the bank.

On February 16, the High Court of Justice sentenced Ablyazov to 22 months in jail. However, the former BTA head escaped justice and his whereabouts are still unknown.

Ablyazov also ignored the sentencing hearing despite his earlier promise to attend. He has reportedly moved to France using an ID that he concealed from the court, the documents read.