The lucky devil who bought the luxury apartment in Paris for 65 mln euro last year works as a top-manager at KazMunayGaz NC, says insider. Does anyone want to take a guess at who it is?
Yesterday, the Kazakhstan media released the information that a millionaire from Kazakhstan had listed for sale a luxury residential space located in the elite district of the French capital. As Sputnik informs by quoting Belgian realtor Ignace Meuwissen, the owner asks 125 mln euro for an apartment equipped with a SPA and a bullet-proof room. This is twice higher than the price the owner paid for it. As for the reasons for selling the apartment, “the owner’s wife no longer likes living in this house”, explains the realtor.
Last year, the story of the luxury apartment on Montaigne Avenue nearby Avenue des Champs-Élysées bought by an unknown “representative of the Kazakhstan Government” generated much buzz. Which is not surprising: it was the most expensive deal on the Paris real estate market of 2017.
According to the Mansion Global real estate agency data, the apartment area constitutes about 1200 square meters. It has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a SPA and a personnel room as well as a 55-square meter hiding place, bullet-proof windows, and a room for security service.
The story had been widely discussed in Kazakhstan and deprived from sleep many journalists who were trying to find out which member of the Kazakhstan Government was able to indulge himself with such a splurge. But, alas, all their requests were met with a standard answer from the Kazakhstan authorities that the owner of the apartment was not a member of the Government, the real estate was purchased legally, and the name of the owner cannot be disclosed since the latter did not permit it.
Those who are accustomed to the Kazakhstan realia have quickly realized that this is clearly someone in power and a quite influential person, too. So, when the insider told us the supposed name of the buyer (in his opinion, it was Chairman of KazMunayGaz Sauat Mynbayev) we were not in the least surprised.
According to the insider, the apartment was purchased for his family that is supposedly moving to France to live there permanently. Supposedly, the wife of the top-manager is already in the process of receiving the residence permit and his daughter is working at the UN in Paris. Apart from that, Mr. Mynbayev is supposedly buying a house on Cote d’Azur to be closer to his friends who have been living in France for a long time. (But this is a story of its own).
You can decide for yourself whether to believe or not to believe the insider. But in case someone doubts that Sauat Mynbayev was able to make such a purchase (after all, where would a state company manager get 65 mln euro?), we will recall last year’s OCCRP investigation that was published under the title “Kazakhstan’s Secret Billionaires”.
The investigation dealt with the Meridian Capital Holding whose traces had been found in the leaks of a Bermuda legal firm called Appleby. The OCCRP journalists found out that, more than ten years ago, Sauat Mynbayev together with Askar Alshinbayev, Evgeniy Feld, Nurzhan Subkhanberdin, Nina Zhusupova, Azat Abish, and Ian Connor (all shareholders of Meridian Capital held top-management positions in Kazkommertsbank) registered in the Bermuda tropical tax heaven a company that had grown into an empire.
Were they entrepreneurship geniuses? Not at all. The OCCRP investigators believe this is a corruption issue. The Meridian Capital shareholders used the bank that was under their control. With the help of its resources, this group financed one project after another investing in everything – from real estate to the natural resources, banks, aviation, transport operations, and dairy production. It allowed for the holding to grow and without major risks, too: in the case of the projects’ failure, the losses were written off the bank’s balance.
We all know of Kazkommertsbank’s current sitiation. It had received several rounds of the multi-billion financial aid from the state in order to stay afloat but still reposed in the Lord. Holding Meridian, on the other hand, had managed to pick up steam and, according to the OCCRP data, was worth as much as billions of dollars. And, by the way, as of that moment, Mynbayev’s share in it constituted 18.75%. So, a luxury apartment in the center of Paris was quite within his price range.
Photo from realtor Ignace Meuwissen's personal archive