Who Is Behind Kuzhagaliyev’s Case?

The trial proceedings on the illegal export of 13 thousand tons of oil for the sum of 1.4 bln tenge is continuing in Aktobe. There are four defendants; co-founder of Aktobe Neftepererabotka LLP Almaz Kuzhagaliyev is the most important one of them.

The Kazakhstan media have been covering the subject in detail. However, Almaz Kuzhagaliyev himself is trying to draw even more public attention to the case. And not only in the local press. For example, on July 12, the Ak-Zhayyk paper published his open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, on August 1, newspaper Vremya published his own version of the current developments.

According to our insiders, Kuzhagaliyev’s main problem lies not only in the fact that he, among other things, is accused of being a part of the «Four Brothers» (Chetyre Brata) organized criminal group. (The verdict on the «Four Brothers» trial was reached on August 2, 2018, in Aktobe). There is also the interest of a number of influential Kazakhstanis in his Aktobe Neftepererabotka stake.

Among these influential people, according to the insider information, the most important ones are CEO of Aktobe Neftepererabotka Ilyas Tasmagambetov who is a close relative of acting Ambassador to Russia Imangali Tasmagambetov and Head of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Atameken as well as Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law Timur Kulibayev whose representatives have already visited the region and studied the possibility of buying Kuzhagaliyev’s share or the entire company.

However, the thing is that, before the trial is finished and the verdict is reached, any attempt to take control of (or buy) Kuzhagaliyev family’s share in Aktobe Neftepererabotka is invariably risky since the court will likely to confiscate Almaz Kuzhagaliyev’s property to pay the damages to the state, so, the transfer of the property rights will be deemed illegal and, therefore, annulled.

We believe the confiscation of Almaz Kuzhagaliyev’s property by the court’s decision and its later sale by the enforcement officials would be the best option for the raiders. Not only would this allow to minimize the legal risks including the challenging of the property rights transfer on the part of the other members of the Kuzhagaliyev family, but also may reduce the purchasing expenses since the property realization based on state tenders is one of the most widespread corruptive mechanisms in the country.

According to the insiders, Almaz Kuzhagaliyev’s share is most likely to go to his business-partner Ilyas Tasmagambetov who, while being the co-founder and CEO of Aktobe Neftepererabotka, has nonetheless never been accused due to some quite dubious reasons.

Here is a quote from his testimony.

«Chief Executive Officer of the plant I. Tasmagambetov told to the court that defendant A. Kuzhagaliyev was personally in charge of the plant production. A. Kuzhagaliyev’s orders re the control of transmix production Oil Blend (brand was used for exporting crude oil) were carried out by Chief Technologist E. Uteniyazov and Head of the Logistics Department A. Kushkinbayev. The witness added that he did not approve the standard for the Oil Blend transmix; the documents were forged». In the words of I. Tasmagambetov, the decision on producing the Oil Blend transmix was made by A. Kuzhagaliyev individually and was not discussed with the witness».

As surprising as it is, the court, for some reason, has accepted Ilyas Tasmagambetov’s testimony without reservations.

According to the insiders, the reason for that lies in the fact that it was Ilyas Tasmagambetov who had initiated the case against Kuzhagaliyev using his connections in the secret service.


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