Anna Has Already Spilled the Sunflower Oil*

We are continuing the saga on how the two investors, one Kazakh and one foreign, with support of certain influential figures, are fighting for the Vavilonskoye polymetallic ore field in the East Kazakhstan region.

Previously, in the article (text available in Russian) titled «Horses, People by the Score» (text available in Russian), we have registered the appearance of fixers and go-betweens in the story we are commenting on. You will recall that, «by „a fixer“, we mean a person performing an important albeit not legally standardised business-function — something between mediation, lobbying and banditry». But «at the same time, fixers cannot automatically be deemed criminals since, as a rule, they have their own business and (or) occupy some post in a large of mid-sized company (less commonly in a quasi-governmental structure or in public service)».

And «their main difference from others involved in the business-process lies in the ability to request unofficial support from influential people including those holding the top positions in the state apparatus, call in undisguised bandits or exert pressure on entrepreneurs via some other means, for instance, through their nearest and dearest. Obviously, they do it not just for the sake of it but for a pay-off».

Now then, this time, we will be talking about legal firm Asker LLP that is already familiar to our reader. The thing is that, according to our insiders, this firm is not simply participating in the investors’ fight for the Vavilonskoye polymetallic ore field but has become the main instrument with which one side is trying to pressure the other via using both the legal and the illegal means. And, as we can see from the documents that we have been supplied with in abundance, the firm has had some success in this undertaking.

You will recall that, according to the insiders, Asker LLP has long been collaborating with Bank TsentrCredit JSC by providing legal services to the companies affiliated with this financial organisation and to its major shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors Bakhytbek Bayseitov. And it looks like the firm has been able to establish and maintain tight connections with everyone who can help it with its ignoble work — judges, prosecutors, police officers, enforcement agents and bandits.

To prove this idea, let us cite the ruling of the Almaty Special Inter-District Court dated June 11, 2021. You can find the entire text of the document at the end of this publication, in the meantime, we will quote several key paragraphs (text in bold by

«Judge Turaliyeva A.C. of the Almaty Special Inter-District Court has reviewed the claim of Legal Company Asker LLP against defendant KMP Service LLP related to the debt collection from the latter.

The Judge has determined that -

Claimant Legal Company Asker LLP had filed a claim against defendant, KMP Service LLP demanding to collect the debt in the amount of 1690000 tenge based on No. 2 Service Provision Agreement signed by the parties on October 4, 2018. 

By the court order of June 11, 2021, the proceedings related to the said claim were initiated and a civil case was open under the simplified procedure.

Apart from the claim, the claimant had made a petition to secure the claim via sequestering the defendant’s entire property. To justify the petition, the claimant stated that the defendant may perform acts related to hiding and alienating their assets due to which denying the requested interlocutory injunction may make it difficult or impossible to enforce the court’s decision».

«Based on Articles 115-158, 269 of the Civil Procedure Code, the Judge has ruled -

To grant the petition of claimant Legal Company Asker LLP on securing its civil claim against defendant KMP Service LLO in order to collect the sum of the debt.

To sequester the property of KMP Service LLP possessed by it or other parties including the monetary funds on its bank accounts (with exception of sequestering the money on the bank’s corresponding account and the property subject to REPO operations, …as well as the money on the salary accounts) to the extent of the sum of the claim that constitutes 13 431 000 (thirteen million four hundred thirty one thousand) tenge.

The ruling is subject to immediate enforcement».

We emphatically suggest that foreign investors intending to come to Kazakhstan and the legal firms employed by them study the text of Judge Turaliyeva’s ruling in order to understand the logic of her decisions. Because it is this kind logic and this kind of decisions (made, obviously, by other judges) that may play the role of the very … * the investors will slip on.

Because just this fact alone that, to secure a 1.69 mln tenge claim the court has ruled to sequester the sum of 13.431 mln tenge, in other words, the amount that is seven times grater, is nonsensical for a civilised legal system.

We cannot, in this particular case, explain the ruling of Judge Turaliyeva but we do suspect that the cited verdict was the result of the unofficial operations performed by the top-managers and the co-owners of Legal Company Asker LLP.

Let us repeat, this is only a conjecture. On the other hand, we do have reason to think so.

The thing is that the audio files featuring the voice that closely resembles that of attorney Erzhan Kumarov frequently mention individual judges and describe the details of his relationships with them (including the cash nexus). We admit that these stories are quite entertaining and so far from the Kazakhs’ standard views on the subject that only the inability to verify them precludes us from commenting on them.

Meanwhile, it looks like nothing human is alien to even the judges so they may take a bribe and then return it. Or return it partially so the rest has to be forced out of them by using, among other things, threats. They may grant a discount or, on the contrary, raise the price because, last time, they experienced impoliteness towards them. They may obtain an advance or they may provide their services on credit. In other words, they let the chips fall where they may.

We would like to finish this article by citing the conclusion we have already made before.

«In our opinion, this course of events is normal for Kazakhstan. When a business argument cannot be settled (at all or with reasonable promptness and money), the opponents oftentimes turn to the people who operate within the grey zone between crime and law and are well received in the offices of prosecutors, judges and governmental officials. It looks like this is exactly what happened here».

Below is the text of the court’s ruling (open it as a separate file for an easier reading). Text available in Russian.

*This is a citation from Mikhail Bulgakov’s famous novel «Master and Margarita». In the Soviet cultural space, the saying has become proverbial. It means that what is done cannot be undone, that the preordained chain of events cannot be changed etc.

When the «foreigner» (Woland) asks Berlioz what the latter is going to be doing in the evening, Berlioz says that, at 10 o’clock, he will be chairing a meeting at the massolit.

«No, that is absolutely impossible, ' said the stranger firmly.

'Why? '

'Because, ' replied the foreigner and frowned up at the sky where, sensing the oncoming cool of the evening, the birds were flying to roost, ' Anna has already bought the sunflower-seed oil, in fact she has not only bought it, but has already spilled it. So that meeting will not take place.»

That evening, Berlioz will slip on the tram tracks where Anna has spilled the sunflower oil and be run over by a tram.


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