Kazakh court upholds 20-year sentence for banker Mukhtar Ablyazov
File photo showing Alma Shalabayeva (R), and Madina Ablyazov, wife and daughter of Kazakh banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, during a press conference in Rome, Italy on Dec. 27, 2013. EFE/Claudio Peri
Astana, Aug 24, (efe-epa) - An appeals court in Almaty, Kazakhstan, upheld Thursday a sentence given to banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov for criminal conspiracy, embezzlement and other crimes.
"The court's verdict against Mukhtar Ablyazov was left unchanged," the court said in an statement.
Ablyazov was sentenced in absentia on June 7 to 20 years in prison for creating and leading a criminal conspiracy, embezzlement, money laundering, illegal use of bank funds and abuse of authority while head of BTA Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Central Asian country.
Ablyazov, who was a leader of the Kazakh opposition, has been on the run since 2009 and is now believed to live in France.
The court also upheld the verdict for two other people involved in the case: the bank's former chairman, Saduakas Mamesh, and deputy chairman, Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov, who both pleaded guilty and were given suspended sentences of five years.
In addition, the court reduced the penalty imposed on BTA Bank's former director of lending, Kairat Sadykov, from 15 years in prison to a five-year suspended sentence.