We are continuing the saga on how the two investors, a Kazakh and a foreign one, are fiercely and beyond the legal boundaries fighting for the Vavilonskoye polymetallic ore field in the East Kazakhstan region.
In our latest publication of June 29, 2021, suggestively titled “Anna Has Already Spilled the Sunflower Oil”, we have registered that, in Kazakhstan, thanks to the plaintiffs’ abilities to find the right approach to the judge, it is quite possible to freeze the defendants’ money in the amount several times bigger than the sum stipulated in the original claim. Today, we would like to tell you about yet another Kazakh legal “novelty” that is likely to shock the foreign public.
Attorney Erzhan Kumarov, one of the main heroes of our saga, is the “architect” of this “novelty”. The thing is that the Almaty branch of Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited that he chairs has filed a claim against the other “combatant” – KPM Service LLP – to Kazakhstan’s International Arbitration Court. However, according to the documents we’ve received, the plaintiff company no longer exists.
Quite recently, on June 17, 2021, the Almaty branch of Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited registered on December 24, 2011, Business Identification Number 111241017597, Taxpayer Registration Number 600400637811, was taken off the register. In other words, it ceased to exist as a legal body. However, this did not stop attorney Erzhan Kumarov from filing a claim against KMP Service LLP on behalf of this entity on June 21, 2021, and it did not preclude the RK International Arbitration Court from admitting this claim to examination.
Incidentally, under the power of attorney issued in the name of Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited, the said claim was signed by yet another active “combatant”, Baygashev T.A. He was acting under the power of attorney issued by Kumarov E.T. in the name of the Almaty branch of Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited on August 15, 2020.
To confirm this, let us present some photocopies (all documents in Russian) -
“Court Order on the Start of the Arbitration Hearing of Case No.165/2021” dated June 21, 2021, signed by Chairman of the International Arbitration Court Suleymenov Maydan Kuntuarovich:
Order No.20755 “On Registering the Termination of Business of the Almaty Branch of Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited” dated June 17, 2021, signed by Bektenov K, the Head of the Land and Legal Bodies Registry Office of the Almaty branch of the non-profit joint-stock company “State Corporation “Government for Citizens”:
We would like to draw our readers’ attention to the fact that, even though, in the text of the Court Order, the name of the plaintiff is written differently (“Company “Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited” instead of “the Almaty Branch of Company Norton Rose Fulbright (Kazakhstan) Limited”), it is the same legal body which is evident from their identical BIN (111241017597).
In our opinion, the legal precedent created by Erzhan Kumarov (filing a claim from an already dead legal body) and substantiated by IAC Chairman Maydan Suleymenov’s decision to admit it to examination demonstrate that, in Kazakhstan, anything is possible; even things that are impossible by definition.
This is critically dangerous for any investor regardless if they come from Kazakhstan or abroad since, it turns out, the said investor may basically “slip and fall down” at any stage of the implementation of their project if they bump up against such an attorney as Kumarov.
The worst, however, is that Kazakhstan has got enough kumarovs everywhere – in the judiciary establishment, among the lawyers and those practicing in other spheres.
Moreover, even if Akorda and the Library would suddenly become concerned about this problem and would like to discipline or fundamentally improve the quality of the legal class, they would fail to do so. Simply because the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical produce such “specialists” on an everyday basis. Consider, the aforementioned Kazakh judge sees no ethical difference between an iniquitous sentence passed on orders from above and an iniquitous sentence passed for a bribe.