«Fate is playing the person and the person is playing the horn», — these words put into Ostap Bender’s mouth by the authors of «The Golden Calf» Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov can very well be applied to Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan Marat Beketayev.
The thing is that the latter, willingly or not, has become a hostage of the long-standing battle between Nursultan Nazarbayev and his most notorious and uncompromising opponent Mukhtar Ablyazov.
At this point though the battle has been reduced to Ablyazov verbally «attacking» the Elbasy, the Kazakh political system and the presidential «super-vertical» on the Internet while the latter are «hitting» him with legal claims in all the international jurisdictions where they can have at least a chance to succeed. As a result, the Ministry of Justice and its head have found themselves on the frontline of the «war» with Ablyazov whereas Kazakhstan’s Public Prosecution Office, the National Security Committee and the former financial police (currently called the Anti-Corruption Agency) have taken the backseat.
On one hand, this makes the Kazakh Ministry of Justice a very important figure but, on the other hand, condemns him to a sad destiny if Kazakhstan loses the legal war with the leader of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK). So it is not surprising that, having found themselves the involuntary hostages of the situation, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Marat Beketayev personally must respond to any negative information in the press and try to prove to everyone that the victory is just around the corner.
Alas, the managing of the situation on the part of the Ministry and its press-service is getting worse and worse. To confirm this, let us recall the press-release titled «The Ruling of the New-York Court on the Flatotel Case of September 3, 2020». The problem, however, lies in the fact that the Ministry uses a similar tactics not only against Mukhtar Ablyazov but against its other opponents as well. Moldovan entrepreneur Anatolie Stati is the most high-profile and notorious of the latter.
We are not going to describe his case in detail since we write on this subject regularly. We will only point out that the likelihood of the Stati family to achieve their goal and receive a compensation for the assets appropriated by the state is much higher than the hypothetical return of Mukhtar Ablyazov to Kazakhstan for the purpose of becoming the leader of the revolution and then of the country’s government.
All this means that Marat Beketayev is literally walking on the razor’s edge and it would be a good outcome for him if he leaves his post unscathed. The Minister probably realises this full well albeit cannot do anything about it. It clearly follows from the Ministry’s press-release of August 13, 2020, titled «Kazakhstan Has Managed to Significantly Limit Stati’s Demands in the Disclosure of Information Debate in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia».
Yes, the title is pretty «telling» if not «shouting». But can one really call it victory of the Ministry of Justice that «Kazakhstan has managed to significantly limit Stati’s demands in the disclosure information debate in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia»?
We seriously doubt that.
If we take the original document — the ruling of the Federal Judge, then, according to it, the Republic of Kazakhstan is obligated to disclose the information on the sovereign assets located in the USA and other countries. We have already written on what the Judge said in relation to this ruling using the shorthand notes of the proceedings.
However, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Marat Beketayev personally, having found themselves cornered, have tried and hide their failure. To do so, the Minister stated straightforwardly that «the Statis have got the main arbitrage ruling by fraud» and his agency has given itself the credit for the fact that the court had reduced the number of the clauses in the claim from 182 to 40.
«The ruling of the US District Court has to do with the Statis demands that Kazakhstan must present certain documents. Originally, in May 2018, the Statis filed a claim containing 182 clauses. Since the demand was violating the judicial rules, Kazakhstan had used its right to refuse. After the court ruling made in August 2019, the Statis had reviewed and changed their claim by redusing the number of the clauses down to 40. However, due to the fact that this claim was also violating the rules, Kazakhstan had used the right to refuse yet again. In the recent ruling of August 11, 2020, the supervisory judge, having examined Kazakhstan’s objections, additionally reduced the number of the clauses while noting that many of them were formulated «too broadly».
Now then, when writing this material, we addressed the lawyers of the Stati family asking them to tell us which clauses had been excluded and which ones had been kept. But they did not want (or perhaps had no legal right) to disclose this information. However, judging by the tone of their voices and the smiles, they are more than satisfied with the US court ruling. We may presume that it is these 40 clauses (out of the original 182) that are actually important in terms of the information disclosure.
We have no doubt that Kazakhstan will continue fighting with Mukhtar Ablyazov for years to come albeit it looks like another person is soon to take charge of this «war». Simply because punishing the Ministry of Justice is pointless but firing the Minister of Justice is no problem at all.