The Tokayevs’ Business-Empire

We are beginning to perform an in-depth analysis of the structure and the business-interests of Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s clan. For Kazakhstan, this is a matter of an enormous significance. But, if the interests of the other clans have been analyzed in detail, the figure of the current president has always remained in the shadows. In our opinion, quite undeservingly so. Here is the first article of the series.  

Even a rather perfunctory study of Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s connections has elicited the existence of an entire business-empire registered to the second president’s relatives.

The family business

Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s son Timur Tokayev is the most obvious representative of the president in the public space of the business.

In Kazakhstan, Timur is known as an incredibly successful oil entrepreneur. With that, the success was sudden. In 2002, Tokayev Jr. became one of the founders of Abi Petroleum Capital LLP. Subsequently, the firm was given the Gryadovoye field (blocks 26-10-B (private) in the Atyrau region. Together with the exploration permit.

The happy obtention happened when Tokayev Sr. had finished serving as prime minister of the country (1999 — January 2002). This was a crucial period in the country’s history and Tokayev’s premiership had seriously helped Akorda in the task of the liquidation of the political opposition.

During the first years of its existence, Abi Petroleum Capital did not attract too much attention. Up until the moment when it became known that the company’s 2012 profit reached almost a billion tenge (810 mln tenge to be precise). The total turnover constituted 3.2 bln tenge. Before that, for several years, the company had been generating losses.

Unfortunately, we cannot say anything concrete on how this business is developing now. The thing is that the link cited in all Abi Petroleum Capital’s reference books as the company’s corporate site does not work.

However, as oppose to other abandoned websites, this one has not simply been shut and forgotten. Its traces are absent from the internet archives. Someone has generously spent money on their liquidation. And the very fact of the total liquidation of information on the internet is quite remarkable.

The Tokayev-Izbastin clan

We have found out that Mukhamed Izbastin is Timur Tokayev’s only partner in the oil business. He owned 50% of Abi Petroleum Capital LLP.

Mukhamed Izbastin is a son of diplomat Temirtay Izbastin who has been serving as the Kazakh charge d’affaires pro tempore in Bulgaria for 10 years since 2009. In Kazakhstan, this is reason enough to believe that Abi Petroleum Capital is a «kids’ business» in the sense that the two sons of the two diplomats have decided to engage in oil extraction and have been successful in this undertaking. This, however, is not the whole truth.

The thing is that Mukhamed Izbastin is not only and not simply a son. He is also a nephew. Temirtay Izbastin is married to the second president’s sister Karlyga Kemelevna Izbastina (maiden name Tokayeva).

In other words, Abi Petroleum Capital is, truly, a family business.

Note that it is based not only on oil. After the government’s relocation to Astana in 2000, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan abandoned its building in Almaty, the mansion of the governor-general where the Diplomatic Reception House was located.

After a series of transactions, Meerbusch LLP became the owner of the mansion. The company belonged to Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s sister and his then very young nephew Mukhamed.

The inclusion of the Izbastins’ name (that is far less known than the name of the Tokayves) in the family business has allowed to significantly widen the perimeter of the Tokayevs’ enterprise.

For instance, company KazAgroFinance JSC of which Kanysh Izbastin (Mukhamed’s brother and Tokayev’s another nephew) is the chairman has immediately entered this perimeter. 68% of the leasing services market in the country’s agricultural sector belong to KazAgroFinance JSC. It will not be an exaggeration to call this enterprise the «boss of this market» since the profitability of the agricultural industry depends on the leasing conditions.  

The cast of the interested parties from among the Izbastins is reflected in KazAgroFinance’ reporting listed at the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE).

Kanysh Izbastin has yet another important relative as his asset. He is a son-in-law of Korpesh Karbuzov who was in charge of the Kazakhstan Customs Committee from June 2007 till May 2011. The Khorgos case put a stop to the career of the influential father-in-law. There had even been talks of the arrest of the official, but he managed to get off scot-free. Perhaps thanks to the powerful political support. For the possibility of Tokayev becoming Nazarbayev’s successor had already been considered at that time.


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