Timur Kulibayev and the outstanding case of selling Aktaunefteservis oil company to KazMunayGaz

EconomicInform US/EU busi­ness mag­a­zine post­ed a piece on Timur Kulibayev’s 2011 trick with sell­ing his own asset – “Aktaunefteservis” oil and gas com­pa­ny – KazMunayGaz, Kazakhstan’s ener­gy giant. 

Both com­pa­nies were owned by him and the mon­ey for the acqui­si­tion was pro­vid­ed by state. Needless to say that the price of Aktaunefteservis is con­sid­ered great­ly exaggerated? 

The fol­low­ing piece describes the scheme in general.

Timur Kulibayev is one of the rich­est busi­ness­men of the World. His wealth is dis­persed in oil and gas explo­ration, bank­ing, finance and devel­op­ment projects. Being a son-in-law of the long-time Kazakhstan pres­i­dent Nazarbayev he accu­mu­lat­ed unseen wealth and influ­ence. Officially, Nursultan Nazarbaev, has three daugh­ters and no sons. In the Central Asian real­i­ty it means that sons-in-law had to com­pete for mon­ey, assets, polit­i­cal pow­er and influ­ence. Casualties are unavoid­able. Timur Kulibayev has seem­ing­ly dis­tanced him­self from any polit­i­cal role in the coun­try. However his enor­mous wealth made him a nat­ur­al leader after anoth­er son-in-law has died in Austrian prison under mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances. His only real com­peti­tor is Dariga Nazarbaeva, dictator’s old­er daugh­ter. Her polit­i­cal strength and influ­ence may over­pow­er his billions.

As well as all mem­bers of the rul­ing dynasty Kulibayev’s orig­i­nal wealth came from oil and gas explo­ration. He man­aged to grab oil fields and to sell it lit­er­ary to him­self. One sto­ry is par­tic­u­lar­ly amaz­ing. It is the acqui­si­tion of “Aktaunefteservis” by “KazMunayGaz”. The acqui­si­tion was com­plet­ed in 2011. KazMunayGaz, the main nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­er and exporter of the coun­try is owned by Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund. At that time Samruk-Kazyna was head­ed by Timur Kulibayev, while Aktaunefteservis was owned by him too. The com­pa­ny was sold for $334 mil­lion. It was pre­ced­ed by price pump­ing and asset infla­tion with the help of elab­o­rat­ed scheme of merg­er and acquisitions. 

The whole scheme was described in a detail by Mukhtar Ablyazov, an arch-ene­my of the regime. Mukhtar Ablyazov has filed an offi­cial com­plaint to General Prosecution of Kazakhstan. It was reject­ed as unfound­ed. We will turn to it in lat­er publications.

Paradoxically, Timur Kulibayev has man­aged to get away with many oth­ers accu­sa­tions. He and his wife Dinara were under inves­ti­ga­tion in Switzerland, but it also end­ed in noth­ing. It seems that their influ­ence reach­es far beyond the nation­al bor­ders of Kazakhstan.

One of the close allies of the Kazakhstan’s regime is Prince Andrew. He sold his man­sion to Kulibayev with 3 mil­lion pound over­shot. It res­onat­ed in news and still remains a hot top­ic for the British soci­ety. However the inves­ti­ga­tion found ‘no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing’. As for now Timur Kulibayev seems to be immune to McMafia inves­ti­ga­tion, which plagued the life of his oppo­nent, Dariga Nazarbayeva.

Timur Kulibayev is the only for­eign mem­ber of the board of direc­tors in Gazprom, the Russian gas and oil giant. It is con­sid­ered that he land­ed there for polit­i­cal rea­sons. Unlike oth­er mem­bers of the Nazarbaev fam­i­ly he does not hold any gov­ern­men­tal office. By appoint­ing Timur Kulibaev to the Gazprom board Russians seek to bol­ster influ­ence in Central Asia. The Gazprom deci­sion to invite Timur Kulibayev was con­tro­ver­sial even for Russia. Timur Kulibayev got his dose of cri­tique and neg­a­tive atten­tion. Investigation jour­nal­ists revealed his long-time affair with Goga Ashkenazi, an influ­en­tial socialite. Timur Kulibayev gave her a per­son­al plane as a gift.

Nothing of it top­pled Timur Kulibayev. However, with oil and gas impor­tance on the his­tor­i­cal lows his influ­ence may fade. Then all facts on his schemes might final­ly result in decent investigation.

Original source of arti­cle: Talk Finance