Home World Old Kazakhstan’s last stand: why Bulat Utemuratov evades arrest

Old Kazakhstan’s last stand: why Bulat Utemuratov evades arrest

Bulat Utemuratov, Nursultan Nazarbaev

President of Kazakhstan has proved to be highly independent figure. He isn’t bound to many agreements, except of the personal with Nazarbayev. It does not prevent closest people and relatives of the former president from investigation and prosecution. Bulat Utemuratov, one of the wealthiest persons in Kazakhstan, is the next in a row. At least that’s what everyone expects.

The post-Soviet oligarchy is deeply interconnected. Boundaries here are truly non-existent. Bulat Utemuratov, the most significant associate of former dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, has an extensive business presence in Russia. At his level, such operations cannot be conducted without a strong partnership with Putin’s associates. Additionally, Bulat Utemuratov’s vast network of offshore companies serves as an effective disguise for Russian assets. Kazakhstan’s role as a hub for money laundering is becoming increasingly popular as a means of evading sanctions. It is utilized by Vladimir Putin’s inner circle to divest themselves of ill-gotten funds. The financial giant known as “Verny Capital,” owned by Bulat Utemuratov, maintains favorable relationships with various shadowy Russian groups, including gangs.

Bulat Utemuratov vast property network as a base of Putin proxies

With Nazarbaev’s regime being attacked in Britain more and more ex-president cronies are being investigated by the financial and criminal authorities. Last week we’ve seen Dariga Nazarbaeva and Nurlan Aliev property seized under UWO (unexplained wealth order). But there are at least two figures of much more importance. Timur Kulibaev and Bulat Utemuratov both are considered the Nazarbayev’s ‘personal financial managers’. Bulat Utemuratov is perhaps of more immediate importance because there are many signs of wrongdoing in his deals with UniCredit banking group and Glencore mining company. The sale of crippled ATF bank to Italian Unicredit is one of the most mysterious affairs to be uncovered. Swiss Weekly News has a new story on this occasion.

“A billionaire without a business” – Bulat Utemuratov according to The Cables

Bulat Utemuratov, “a billionaire who has never had a business”, as portrayed by some classified American diplomat, indeed had a business. In his extensive PR presents him as the self-made wealthy genius manager and investor. In some cases it definitely is true: the essence of the Unicredit-ATF bank affair, as an example, is indeed implemented by genius. A former butcher and Soviet-era caricature of the shop manager he crawled to the very heights of the Kazakh oligarchy by offering his fixing services and vast international ties. Bulat Utemuratov is not self-made in a true sense of the word, but rather made-for-purpose. The regime needs a middleman to launder the money it got from the exploiting the riches of the land.

Bulat Utemuratov in the Unicredit-ATF grand scam

His story is amazing in many ways but we will tell you only one episode of it. We’ll tell how Bulat Utemuratov has sold his ATF bank to Italians. The story is based on what we’ve learned at the Compromat.ws site and some other findings. The Compromat article although is more focused on his private life which we will avoid. The conspiracy theory that Bulat Utemuratov is possessing some blackmail on Donald Trump will also not be discussed as it is ridiculous. But the story of selling one of the major Kazakhstan’s bank to UniCredit is awesome and needs some in-depth excursion.

Unicredit bought the infamous ATFBank to be duped by Bulat Utemuratov
Unicredit banking group acquired ATFBank from Bulat Utemuratov to push to the East

True career of Bulat Utemuratov started when Kazakhstan gained independence and the young state was in desperate need of human resources. There were no professional statesmen with international experience as all the republican needs were covered by Moscow until the very collapse of USSR. Bulat had connections and was able enough to try his fortune as a diplomat. He succeeded. And he was first man from Kazakhstan who arranged a much-needed credit line to the new state economy. It was a loan from Creditanstalt that was the first.

The unfortunate deal of selling ATF Bank to Unicredit remains a puzzle. Some investigators assume that it was a double-sided money laundering operation performed to get some assets written off. Maybe the deal was more complicated and some other Italian corporations were in play. ENI, in particular, were struggling to get the concessions at the oil fields. No firm confirmation of any theory are available.

Utemuratov’s wealth is evaluated by Forbes to be two billion US dollars. However, this is very conservative estimation. More likely the wealth is at least five billion in USD. How much of the billions are Utemuratov true share and how much of it is just a form of wallet for Nazarbaev’s and Putin’s clan?

About the author: Christy Olsen

Christy Olsen, a young author who followed in her father's footsteps and took up journalism at school. She often introduces a lot of subjective things into his texts, always tries to state the essence and give a proper assessment.

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