What Is behind Mamin’s Visit to the UAE

The recent visit of Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister to the United Arab Emirates was accompanied by the official press-release reprinted by the local media and Internet-resources. However, no one in Akorda and the Library sang praises to the head of the government and his outstanding success in the matter of attracting foreign investments; no one thanked Askar Mamin for a job well done.

Meanwhile, according to the official press-release under the high-sounding title “A. Mamin’s UAE Visit: the Pool of the New Conjoint Projects to Surpass $6 Bln”, “investment agreements worth of $6 bln have been signed in the course of the visit”.

At the same time, “currently, the UAE companies are involved in the implementing of 11 big investment projects in Kazakhstan worth more than $3.5 bln”.

In other words, the volume of the UAE investments in the Kazakh economy is to grow by almost three times! But, for some reason, they are not making much noise about it!

In our opinion, the only explanation for the modesty of Akorda, the Library and the government lies in the following: they do not want to attract the public attention to these particular investments. Because these investments are likely to come from the funds of the First President’s clan and of his allies; the funds that had been moved from the country to the offshore structures and, up until recently, kept in the UAE banks and foundations. 

By the by, Prime Minister Askar Mamin’s interest towards the UAE have already been spotted. For instance, in our publication titled “A Trillion Tenge Investor” , we comment on his visit to the multi-functional tourist complex that is being constructed in Nur-Sultan on the premises of the Astana, the New City special economic zone.

"The press-release is illustrated by three photos of which the second one seems to be of particular interest since it reveals the configuration of the future multi-functional tourist complex.

Visually, it is quite impressive, just as the cost of the project is (more than a trillion tenge which, at today’s exchange rate, constitutes about US$2.3 bln). 

Naturally, this begs the question – is this complex going to generate profit?

Unfortunately, one cannot answer this question without having access to the investor’s records located in the UAE. However, we strongly suspect that, even if the project does become profitable, it is only going to happen in a distant future.

Now, if we are correct in our assumption, why then the foreign investor has chosen to invest more than US$2 bln in a project that may be prestigious yet dubious from the business standpoint?

There can be only one answer. Acting as the official investor of the Nur-Sultan multi-functional tourist complex located on the territory of the Astana, the New City special economic zone, Ellington Properties Development LLC is operating with someone else’s money".

At the time of the publication, we chose not to point the finger at the man whom we believe to be the owner of the billions of US dollars moved from Kazakhstan to the offshore zones. However, everyone in the country who is seriously interested in politics and business knows who he is.

On the other hand, in the past, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the “Leader of the Nation” used to visit the UAE on a regular basis and took care of the matters himself.

We have not verified the information related by Kazbek Baysenov, a former diplomat who is currently actively working as a blogger, but we do not believe he is mistaken. Here is a quote from his post.

“For your reference. This is the country the First President used to visit more than any other. Here is what’s written on the MFA website: “A firm foundation of the bilateral relations had been laid following the official and working visits of the First President of the RK – the Elbasy to the UAE (1998, 2000,  2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) as well as the return official visit of the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Kazakhstan in 2008 and his frequent visits in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013”. 

It is very likely that, after the year 2020, Nursultan Nazarbayev can no longer visit the UAE (due to the health and other reasons) and there, right on the spot, make arrangements with those to whom he has entrusted his money savings. Now this sensitive yet extremely important for the Elbasy and his circle matter is being handled by Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin.

Another possibility is that Mamin does nothing but represents his boss and signs the necessary papers.

Our conjecture can be indirectly confirmed by the fact that, exactly one year ago, Askar Mamin also visited the UAE. Back then we commented on his visit in our publication “On Tokayev’s Visit to the UAE”.

You will recall that the matter also revolved around  the UAE investments in 21 Kazakh projects. The amount of the investments constituted US$6.1 bln. And back then there was no noise in the press, either.

It is highly likely that, both now and then, it was the same money. But, if a year ago, they only reached the first agreement on how and where it is going to be invested, then now they have signed specific deals on the investments.

These deals are probably so watertight from the legal standpoint that, if the related authorities from the U.S. or the European Union impose personal sanctions against Nursultan Nazarbayev and the members of his clan, no one will be able to touch them and arrest the accounts, the securities, the investments and the projects.


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