Where to Dig for Tokayev’s Assets

Akorda’s reaction to the high-profile investigation conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Project (OCCRP) on the basis of the confidential information leaked from bank Credit Suisse was abnormally quick. The response came from Berik Uali, the President’s press-secretary.

You will recall that, among other things, the OCCRP has discovered that Nadezhda Tokayeva, the former wife of the Kazakh President, and their son Timur Tokayev have had accounts in the Swiss bank (click here to read details in Russian; click here to read details in English). Also the investigation lists the real estate assets in Switzerland and in Russia that used to be owned (or are still owned) by them. 

Here is what Mr. Uali has stated on his Facebook page, to a word (text in bold by KZ.expert).

‘Head of the State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev does not have accounts in the Swiss bank of which certain media have written. The President does not have accounts in foreign banks, he does not own offshore companies, he does not own real estate abroad.

The ex-wife of Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich has never owned the accounts listed in the publication.

As for Timur Tokayev, he is 38 years old, he is a businessman and has never worked for the government.

This fake information attack against the Head of the State aims to discredit him since the President is actively trying to limit the role of monopoly in the economy and the state policy and is conducting the reforms that some may dislike’.

We think the Kazakh citizens did not truly believe Berik Uali’s words albeit we ourselves do allow for the possibility that, this time, he’s told the truth.

Not the whole truth, of course, just the part that is favourable to his boss.

Let us analyse the text of the press-secretary’s post.

It starts with the statement that ‘Kassym-Jomart Tokayev does not have accounts in the Swiss bank’. At the same time, however, the text does say explicitly that he has not owned such accounts which means that, in the past, the Head of the State used to have a Swiss account in one of the Swiss banks (perhaps in the very same Credit Suisse). The account was closed when having it was no longer necessary.

Common logic suggests that this is exactly what happened. For, in 2011-2013, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had worked in Switzerland for two and a half years. Therefore, he simply had to open a bank account if only to receive his salary as the UN Deputy Secretary General - Head of the UN European Office in Geneva and to pay his bills.

We do agree with Berik Uali’s statement that ‘the President does not have accounts in foreign banks, he does not own offshore companies, he does not own real estate abroad’ albeit with the same reservation - ‘now, but not in the past’.

Also Berik Uali says that ‘the ex-wife of Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich has never owned the accounts listed in the publication’. In this instance the press-secretary may be lying. The OCCRP data-base mentions only one bank account, a dedicated one.

Even though it was opened for Timur Tokayev who, as you recall, had studied in Switzerland, formally, it would have been in Nadezhda Tokayeva’s name since, in 1998, her son was but 14 years old.  

The last statement of the press- secretary that Timur Tokayev is a businessman and has never worked for the government also seems to ring true.

Now, to sum up.

We at KZ.expert believe that Berik Uali’s post is but an artful manoeuvre aimed to pull the verbal wool over the Kazakh citizens’ eyes.

Why do we think so? Because, on one hand, not a single word written by Tokayev’s press-secretary is untrue, therefore, on the surface, it is hard to find fault with him. But, on the other hand, he has deliberately misled the public via his skilful use of the verbs and, with his one-sided truth, has tried to call into question the entire OCCRP investigation.  

Judging by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Kazakh media have simply reprinted Uali’s post, he has achieved a partial success in his dubious undertaking.

Meanwhile if one analyses the press-secretary’s post in a critical manner as we have done, one will see that, in reality, Berik Uali did not refute but, instead, confirmed the sensational data released by the OCCRP. (Including that on the valuable real estate assets that Timur Tokayev owns in Switzerland and that he and his mother have owned or still own in Moscow).

Finally, we would like to recommend the investigators of the Tokayev-related issues to examine today’s private life of the second President of Kazakhstan. For, if you google ‘Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s wife’, among the related searches at the bottom of the page you will find a lot of interesting stuff. For instance, on Lyazzat Tanysbay who has been charing the Kazakhstan Republican Television and Radio Corporation NSC since April 2019.

If the rumours connecting her name with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev are at least partially true then, given the usual Kazakh practices, one may assume that Tokayev would entrust his money and other assets in Lyazzat Tanysbay and your relatives’ care. And, among these relatives, we would single out Kuat Tanysbay, the brother of Ms. Tanysbay.

The thing is that, according to our insiders in Akorda, Kuat Tanysbay who, in 2001-2002, had served as the Aide to the Minister of Transport and Communications and then as the Aide to Deputy Prime Minister Karim Masimov has remained one of the closest allies of the former Chief of the NSC until very recently.

Moreover, according to the people who used to know them in the past, Karim Masimov had deliberately excluded Tanysbay from his entourage so that the name of this man would not  be tied to him in the future.

We cannot say in what way Kuat Tanysbay used to assist Karim Masimov but, according to our insiders, it is through him that current President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had maintained the unofficial contacts with Masimov, even after Nursultan Nazarbayev has made him    his successor at the presidential post.

According to unverified data, Kuat Tanysbay is now being used as the unofficial negotiator with Karim Masimov regarding the latter’s assets that, in the opinion of Tokayev his circle, should be handed over to Tokayev’s people.


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