MOSCOW, November 21 (RAPSI) - London’s High Court has held the brother in law of ex-BTA Bank Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov in contempt, and has sentenced him to 22 months in prison, according to a statement issued Thursday by BTA Bank.

According to the statement: “On 18 October 2013, [Shalabayev] was found to be in contempt of court for his consistent failure to comply with numerous orders of the Court. He had been ordered not to leave England and Wales until he had provided information on the whereabouts of millions of dollars that passed through companies believed by the High Court to belong to [Ablyazov]. Despite this, he refused to answer and absconded. In the Committal Judgement, [Justice Eder] found that Salim's wrongful conduct took place over an extended period, included lying to the Court of Appeal and was ‘committed deliberately and knowingly.’”

Shalabayev is the third of Ablyazov’s associates to have been committed to prison after being held in contempt, the bank says in its statement.

BTA Bank Managing Director Pavel Prosyankin lauded the holding, saying: “We welcome this judgment against Salim Shalabayev. We will continue to pursue these committal actions to help break the networks through which Mr Ablyazov and his associates can improperly hide and disperse assets. The Bank is determined to seek redress against those who have been instrumental in the losses that it has suffered from alleged fraud, as well as those who are assisting in the concealment of monies or assets misappropriated from the Bank,” as quoted in the statement.

In 2009, BTA filed a suit on the alleged embezzlement of $6 billion by its former leadership in the London High Court. In May 2011, the court accepted the bank's complaints against former board chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. In February 2012, it ruled in absentia to detain Ablyazov for 22 months for contempt of court and deprived him of the right to defend his interests.

Ablyazov was detained on July 31 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking the extradition of the fugitive banker. Kazakhstan and France do not have an extradition treaty and extradition to Russia may be hindered for procedural reasons, so Ukraine remains the choice destination.

Kazakhstan is seeking the extradition of Ablyazov, who fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. Ablyazov was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011.