Thursday, May 17, 2012 -
A British judge ruled Wednesday that the former chairman of Kazakh BTA Bank can appeal his jail sentence while remaining in hiding, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported.
Mukhtar Ablyazov fled in February after a British judge imposed a 22-month jail term on him for contempt of court. Ablyazov said he fears for his life and that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is trying to remove him as a political opponent.
Lawyers for Kazakh state-managed BTA Bank asked the judge to remove the oligarch’s right of appeal against the sentencing.
But Judge Martin Moore-Bick said in his written judgment, “It would not be in the interests of justice to require Ablyazov to surrender himself to custody as a condition of proceeding with this appeal, however badly he may have behaved.”
Ablyazov was convicted of contempt for failing to disclose his full assets in the United Kingdom, where he resides with political asylum status, and of moving money to evade detection by British authorities.
The billionaire is defending himself against nine embezzlement claims by Kazakh authorities for allegedly stealing $5 billion during his chairmanship of the bank between 2005 and 2009.