The British Court’s decision to lift the arrest of the three expensive London real estate properties belonging to the First President’s eldest daughter and grandson is one of the most colourful news of the recent days. Let us comment on that.
But first we will cite a Radio Azattyk publication under a resonant title «How Nazarbayeva and Aliyev Proved the Legality of Their Assets» that we believe tells this intriguing story to the fullest (text in bold by kz.expert).
«On April 8, the High Court of London reached a verdict in favour of Dariga Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev granting their requests to discharge the unexplained wealth orders and lift the arrest from their elite real estate in London. The UWOs were issues upon the request on the British National Crime Agency that claimed that the properties were acquired using proceeds from Rakhat Aliyev’s illegal activities. The court’s decision published online presents the arguments of both sides in detail.
The decision of April 8 was made remotely by Mrs. Justice Lang due to the restrictive measures related to the coronavirus pandemics. She overturned all the UWOs based on the argument that the National Crime Agency failed to prove that the luxury real estate — the two mansions and two apartments in London — were purchased on the „dirty money"of Rakhat Aliyev, former husband of Dariga Nazarbayeva and father of Nurali Aliyev. The accusation of the British law-enforcement agency was built exactly on this premise.
The UWOs had to do with the following assets:
The mansion at Denewood Road, 32, London registered for the Villa Magna company.
The mansion at Bishops Ave, 33, registered for the Manrick Private Foundation and Alperton Investments companies.
Apartments at Mansera Road, 21 registered for Tropicana Assets Foundation company.
The court informs that, according to the NCA, these assets were purchased as a way of laundering the money received by Rakhat Aliyev as a result of illegal activities. With the help of the UWOs, the Agency was trying to obtain the information on the purchase and the transfer of this property including the information on the source of the funding and the end beneficiaries».
Let us comment on these quotations.
Today, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter who is also the Head of the Senate of the Kazakh Parliament and, as such, considered the first contender for the post of Kazakhstan’s President if something is to happen to Kossym-Jomart Tokayev or if he himself decides to resign, is one of the key elements of the current power balance.
With that, on one hand, she crutches up the acting head of the Kazakh state limiting his freedom to a large extent since the legislature approval as well as the appointment of several key figures in the state apparatus depend on the Senate. On the other hand, Dariga Nazarbayeva, as Kossym-Jomart Tokayev’s successor at the post of the Speaker of the Senate reminds him, willingly or not, to whom he owes his current high status and with whom he can be replaced in a matter of hours.
By the looks of it, Tokayev will not be able to break free from this circle constructed by Nursultan Nazarbayev while the latter is still alive. And, as we suspect, today the defence of the private interests of his eldest daughter and grandson have become one of the most important (albeit not publicly declared) tasks of the Kazakh state structures. First of all, we are talking about the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan and its head Marat Beketayev. Especially since they, thanks to the years-long legal war with Mukhtar Ablyazov, feel themselves in the UK more than freely and, particularly, enjoy the reputation of financially reliable and generous customers.
It is for this reason that we are not at all surprised that Mrs. Justice Lang has reached the verdict in favour of the respondents and not the claimants. We have no doubt that this is not an instance of corruption. It is more likely that something else is at play here. For the National Crime Agency, it is more than difficult to prove that the suspicted real estate was purchased on „the dirty money“ because (in contrast to the case of Mukhtar Ablyazov and BTA Bank JSC), in this instance, the Kazakh law-enforcement structures were helping the defendants and not the British authorities. And the lawyers representing Dariga Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev were able to use this fact.
Nonetheless, we are still optimistic. And we are certain that all the documents related to this case do exists, it’s just that, so far, the National Crime Agency has not been able to obtain them all or the investigators have not managed to sort them out. With that, we have no doubt that Akorda and the Library are now trying to exert a most serious pressure on the British authorities in order to persuade them not to continue the investigation of the case and settle.
We see no point in reprinting the rest of the Radio Azattyk article; however, we will highlight the important moments that, in our opinion, have been underestimated by the British investigators. We believe, in the instance of additional investigation, these moments will be able to change the situation in a crucial way.
«So, according to the court’s materials, the mansion at Denewood Road was purchased in April 2008 for 9.3 pounds by the Twingold Holding company and then, in 2013, was passed through to Villa Magna of Panama».
«Lang also said that, assessing the likelihood of the participation of Rakhat Aliyev’s family in the laundering of his money, the investigation did not take into consideration the break-up of their relationship prior to their official divorce in 2007. Lang also concluded that Aliyev did not transfer any illegally obtained funds and assets to Nazarbayeva and she herself does not own any of them. Lang made this conclusion based on the letter of Kazakhstan’s Public Prosecution Office that was submitted to court by Aliyev, Nazarbayeva and their lawyers.
According to the court’s conclusion, the testimony of the Kazakh Public Prosecution Office as well as other information were submitted on August 9. The document package also included a letter written in the name of Dariga Nazarbayeva describing the circumstances of her divorce with Aliyev after she had learned about his relationship with Elnara Shorazova. The latter states that, after the divorce, Nazarbayeva received significantly less than 50% of the family assets that did not include the properties abroad while she herself and her son had never contacted Aliyev since then».
«According to the court documents, the said mansion (at Bishops Ave — kz.expert) was purchased for 39 mln pounds by the Riviera Alliance company in August 2008 and, in March 2013, was transferred to Manrick Private Foundation registered in Curacao. In 2014, the house was passed into joint ownership with Alderton Investments registered in Anguilla».
«The Logic Systems company is said to be the purchaser of the Shahar LLP shares. The value of the transaction, according to the documents, constituted about 1.1 bln tenge (4.5 mln pounds or 9.2 $ mln) that were received by a «trusted person» Timur Segizbayev who then moved them to Cyprus. The rest of the money for the mansion Aliyev paid from the 65-million loan from Nurbank, the document says».
«This asset (the Chelsea apartments — kz.expert) was purchased in September 2010 for 32 mln pounds. Currently, according to the documents, the owners include Tropicana Assets Foundation registered in Panama. The NCA names Rakhat Aliyev as the «founder» and «the income source» of this company».
In our opinion, the British National Crime Agency, if it wants to be consistent in completing the tasks at hand, needs to do the following.
- first, not to believe the Public Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the documents it provides simply because it is a servant to the Nazarbayev family,
- second, try to figure out the operations of the offshore companies starting not from 2008 but at least 2006, better yet — from the moment they were created,
- third, demand Dariga Nazarbayeva’s and Nurali Aliyev’s tax declarations from Kazakhstan.
- fourth, make certain who exactly owned the three real estate objects and with whom these people are affiliated,
- fifth, inquire how this family’s property devision had been happening after 2007.
If we are to believe the Radio Azattyk material, this is exactly what the National Crime Agency is going to do.
«The National Crime Agency states that it is going to appeal the decision on Nazarbayeva’s and Aliyev’s assets.
The NCA’s Graeme Biggar noted that his agency expected serious judicial difficulties when issuing the orders. He states that the agency is tenacious since these hearings will create legal precedents on which the future decisions will be based. He says that achieving success is vital. «We have been very clear that we will use all the legislation at our disposal to pursue suspected illicit finance and we will continue to do so», says he».
In our opinion, this success is even more important for the Republic of Kazakhstan and its citizens since it will allow to weaken such an important element of the authoritarian system as Dariga Nazarbayeva, the eldest daughter of Nursultan Nazarbayev whom he has appointed the Head of the Senate and with whose help he is now keeping the balance of power in the ruling elite while surrounding and isolating his successor at the post of the head of the state.