Timur Kulibayev got multi-million payments from an oil investment company worth a baseball bat

Timur Kulibayev, a shad­owy fig­ure in charge of the major­i­ty of Kazakhstan’s most lucra­tive pieces of econ­o­my, re-emerged into the pub­lic spot­light. Seemingly dis­tant from the state affairs he and his wife are all over the country’s wealth. The rea­son for it is quite sim­ple: he is not only the son-in-law of the first pres­i­dent of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev, and not only the wealth­i­est per­son in the oil-rich Central Asian state. First of all Timur Kulibayev is the fix­er of choice for the regime in accu­mu­lat­ing, laun­der­ing and stor­ing the enor­mous wealth grabbed from the oil-rich nation. 

But even he is not invin­ci­ble as Kazakhstan’s desert­ers and whistle­blow­ers uncov­er more and more proof of enor­mous scale of the ille­gal oper­a­tions cen­tred around the oil and nat­ur­al gas indus­try. What was mere­ly accept­able in the ear­ly 2000’s is now pun­ish­able by inter­na­tion­al law and per­son­al sanctions. 

A new wave of Aisultan Nazarbaev’s inter­views adds up to the already exist­ing back­ground. It might be suf­fi­cient to shot to pieces the shield which pro­tects Timur Kulibayev inter­na­tion­al rep­u­ta­tion, already shak­ing under the blows done by Wall Street Journal criticism.

Aisultan Nazarbaev dra­mat­ic deser­tion from the fam­i­ly val­ues of the Kazakhstan ex-pres­i­dent Nursultan Nazarbaev cir­cle shed some light at the secre­tive regime. Young grand­son of the Central Asian dic­ta­tor and de-fac­to life­time ruler, Aisultan, is by no means a poster child. With heavy drug and alco­holic abuse, a crim­i­nal record for assault on the British police­man he can’t be pre­sent­ed as an icon­ic whistle­blow­er. But his insights on the inter­nal life and mon­ey laun­der­ing affairs seem to be price­less. His appli­ca­tion for the asy­lum in Britain was pre­ced­ed by sev­er­al announcements.

Some of the state­ments are out­right non­sense. It sounds weird for the mod­ern times, but he accused his moth­er, Dariga, in witch­craft. Although it is not total­ly unknown to the Nazarbaev’s regime — it drowns in the occult prac­tices — the effec­tive­ness of the witch­craft is doubt­ful. Some the posts are shock­ing. Aisultan Nazarbayev states that he is a son, not a grand­son of the Kazakhstan leader. Through the bar­rage of cries for help mixed with the drug-relat­ed the­o­log­i­cal rev­e­la­tions he posts some real­ly impor­tant data relat­ed to the cor­rupt regime.

The brav­ery often abrupt­ly turns to pan­ic. To be true he has all the rea­sons to be afraid for his life. His father, once almighty Rakhat Aliev, end­ed his life by high­ly sus­pi­cious sui­cide in an Austrian prison. It was pre­ced­ed by Rakhat Aliev’s crit­i­cal book and inter­views to the press. Many Kazakhstani still believe that his death was a job of pow­er­ful KNB, a Kazakhstan suc­ces­sor to the KGB. Many foes of the regime gone dead or miss­ing under mys­te­ri­ous circumstances.

…there is no reac­tion from Kazakh or Russian gov­ern­ment! After I have revealed the cor­rup­tion scheme at the high­est lev­el of the hier­ar­chy of Russian and Kazakhstan gov­ern­ments that involves more than 1,5 bil­lion dol­lars a year from one sin­gle gas con­tract, they try to por­tray me as insane. They do that, instead of start­ing offi­cial pros­e­cu­tion and inves­ti­ga­tion to look into the con­tract and pun­ish those who are involved, as this would have hap­pened in the west­ern civilised world! As you can see, in the author­i­tar­i­an regimes like in Russia and Kazakhstan, there is no law and order! They can eas­i­ly vio­late any human rights, they don’t even take them in to the account!

The scheme of which Aisultan wrote is not exact­ly the fresh news. The plot is cen­tred around yet anoth­er Nursultan’s son-in-law — Timur Kulibaev. The only new input of Aisultan is that Timur Kulibaev ‘fetch­es’ $700 mil­lions of kick­back as a result of sell­ing the Kazakhstan nat­ur­al gas to Russia for cheap. Aisultan Nazarbaev wrote that he has seen the cheques by his own eyes. The whole affair was revealed to the pub­lic by Nazrbaev’s regime cur­rent arch­en­e­my — a fugi­tive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov. Once part of the regime he is now the head of DVK — Kazakhtan’s Democratic Choice, an oppo­si­tion move­ment. Ablyazov resides in London. So does Aisultan Nazarbaev.

The two def­i­nite­ly met each oth­er. And Aisultan acknowl­edged that, per­haps under pres­sure, to his moth­er. Nevertheless it does not changes the facts. According to the data avail­able Timur Kulibayev is involved in sys­tem­at­ic and long-time mon­ey laun­der­ing scheme, the Public Eye and Mukhtar Ablyazov sug­gest. The scheme is based on gas and oil trade and con­ces­sion licens­ing. It brought bil­lions and bil­lions to the Nazarbaev’s clan in mon­ey laun­dered clear through the net­work of Swiss and off­shore com­pa­nies estab­lished by the regime prox­ies, and Timur Kulibayev first of all.

Mukhtar Ablyazov even sub­mit­ted the doc­u­ments to the Kazakhstan General Prosecutor and his Swiss col­league. Kazakhstan author­i­ties quick­ly dis­missed the doc­u­ment as incom­plete, forged or tak­en out of the con­text. The Swiss pros­e­cu­tors were slight­ly less agile. The case was opened and inves­ti­ga­tion took three years to com­plete. Wall Street launched own cam­paign and it helped the case to gain pub­lic­i­ty it deserved.

During the inves­ti­ga­tion Timur Kulibayev has nev­er shown up in Switzerland. Despite hav­ing a lux­u­ri­ous estate he bought there he was absent for three years and was nev­er inter­viewed by the Swiss author­i­ties dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion. Then Swiss gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor came to Kazakhstan in per­son and met his Kazakhstani col­league. Timur Kulibayev was cleared and total­ly reha­bil­i­tat­ed in full. Kulibayev even bought anoth­er Swiss vil­la on that occasion.

The pro­po­nents of the Nazarbaev clan were tri­umphant. The Swiss pros­e­cu­tion has cleared Timur Kulibayev of all charges — they said. Except it didn’t. It is only par­tial­ly true.

Due to the Swiss laws in effect at the time of inves­ti­ga­tion the Swiss only proved that the case has noth­ing com­mon to cor­rup­tion, because… there was no proof that Timur Kulibayev was an offi­cial states­man. As sim­ple as that. The fact that he is president’s son-in-law, the head of major nation­al state-owned com­pa­nies does not made him a states­man, the Swiss lawyers con­clud­ed. As for high­ly sus­pi­cious oper­a­tions made by his cronies, the Swiss decid­ed that it is not the case of mon­ey laun­der­ing because most of the trans­ac­tions were made out­side of the Swiss juris­dic­tion. “None of our busi­ness” slo­gan may be in fact a very suc­cess­ful busi­ness mod­el of some sort.

In the same time the facts the Public Eye made avail­able were con­firmed. The quick look at the Offshore Leaks Database yields as much tips on the Timur Kulibayev off­shore activ­i­ty as you want.

With new leaks are about to emerge the time is right to recall what is already known about Kulibayev’s affairs with the Switzerland’s Vitol, Chinese CNPC, and Russian Gazprom accord­ing to the bril­liant Public Eye investigation.

Originally pub­lished at https://chicagomorningstar.com on March 8, 2020.

Shawn Genzone

Author: Shawn Genzone