Kenes Rakishev’s Plans and Schemes

After “selling” the majority share of Kazkommertsbank for only one tenge to Halyk Bank, Kenes Rakishev, a Kazakhstan businessman and a figurant of the Forbes “Richest” list, has practically disappeared from the public eye. One can only find mentions about his activities as a venture investor and a philanthropist here and there in the press but not more. And this is considering that Forbes-Kazakhstan places him on the seventh position on its “Richest” list and on the 16th position on its “Most Influential” list.

Against this background, the article published by Russian newspaper Kommerstant quoting the LSE data that the offshore company controlled by Imangali Tasmagambetov’s son-in-law has bought the shares of the Petropavlovsk gold-mining company from the Renova group connected to Viktor Vekselberg seems a truly unexpected news. In total, the Fincraft Holdings Ltd Cyprus Company solely owned by Kenes Rskishev has bought 22.42% of the shares and 6.83% of the votes in convertible bonds with 2020 expiration date.

According to the media, Petropavlovsk is one of the largest Russian gold-mining holdings. Legally, it is registered in the UK, its head office is placed in London, the other two – in Moscow and Blagoveschensk. Petropavlovsk’s main assets are located in Russia, in the Amur region, where it has four enterprises – Pokrovsky Rudnik, Pioner, Malomyr, and Albyn. The gold reserves of the enterprises are estimated at 8.5 mln ounces.

Based on the Kommersant data, on December 21, 2017, 22.42% of the Petropavlovsk shares were worth $76 mln according to the LSE listing. And it looks like Rakishev used not only his own resources but the borrowed resources as well. The fact that Fincraft Holdings Ltd had immediately pawned 9.08% of the Petropavlovsk shares under the VTB Bank REPO deal speaks in favor of this assumption.

Based on these numbers, one can estimate the expenditures of the son-in-law of the current Kazakhstan ambassador to Russia. If 22.42% of the stares were worth 76 mln dollars, then the entire purchase, including the convertible bonds, can be as high as 99 mln. Therefore, it looks like Rakishev paid for the Russian asset with the UK residence permit not less than 68 mln dollars (minus about 31 million dollars from VTB Bank). Of course, we cannot swear by this number since we do not know the precise detail of the deals, but we believe we are not bending the truth too much.

By our estimates, the said deal confirms the unofficial information that, after the fiasco with BTA Bank and Kazkommertsbank, Kenes Rakishev had decided to move to Russia, under the wing of his father-in-law. It seems quite logical since he has no serious business-assets in Kazakhstan. Of the businesses mentioned in the Forbes magazine, the SAT&Company holding (the largest one) has long seized to be worth anything. The same can be said about NetElement, the company specializing in mobile payments and transaction services. Although the shares of the latter are traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, their price had dropped from $85.6 to $0.84 in 2012-2016.

As for BTA Bank, Kenes Rakishev became its majority shareholder on June 28, 2017 when he bought 299211380223 ordinary shares from Nurzhan Subkhanberdin thus increasing his share from 48.89% to 97.79%. The financial institute had long seized to be a business-structure and now is nothing but a judicial envelop that Akorda uses for its legal and informational war with Mukhtar Ablyazov.

To, once again, confirm the fact that BTA Bank is nothing but a “living corpse”, we have visited its website. The last (at the time of the writing) publicly accessible financial report is dated by July 2015, the information about the return on the assets is scarce, and the section “The Main Achievements of the Lawsuit” ends with this paragraph: “Ablyazov’s arrest. As a result of BTA Bank’s persistent attempts, on July 31, 2013, the French police found and arrested Ablyazov on his luxurious villa in France. Ablyazov was detained and sent to the French prison, and, during the time of his imprisonment, the court refused to release him on bail three times. In the past two years, the courts of Aix-en-Provence and Lyon as well as the court of cassation ruled that Mukhtar Ablyazov must be extradited to Russia and Ukraine. He remains in prison awaiting the decision on the extradition that Prime Minister of France has to make”.

We can neither confirm nor deny the versions of the events cycling at the market now. According to one of them, Kenes Rakishev willingly had participated in the business-schemes to, first, buy BTA Bank and then Kazkommertsbank to help his older business partner Timur Kulibayev. But the fact that, in the end, Rakishev had suffered rather substantial losses and Akorda had to pressure him via the deposits withdrawal when the question about turning the control over Kazkommertsbank to Halyk Bank rose speaks against this assumption.

We believe Akorda had used Kenes Rakishev in the scheme of providing the state assistance to Halyk Bank and its majority shareholders Timur and Dinara Kulibayevs by seducing Imangali Tasmagambetov’s son-in-law with the brilliant prospects. And then it had cynically abandoned him having simultaneously solved a domestic political task of “extracting the fat” from the son-of-law of the person who could become a competitor to any Nazarbayev’s successor including his daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva.


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