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Home » Kazakhstan: Another Nazarbayev Relative Gets Prison Time

Kazakhstan: Another Nazarbayev Relative Gets Prison Time

by Thomas Burke
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Another relative, this time by marriage, of Kazakhstan’s former president has been sentenced to time in prison.

On May 4, a court in the capital, Astana, found Gulmira Satybaldy, the 52-year-old wife of one of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s nephews, guilty of appropriating businesses by means of intimidation and ordered her to serve seven years behind bars. Two accomplices, Madi Batyrshayev and Rashid Utebekov, were sentenced to seven and five years in prison, respectively.

Satybaldy has rejected charges made against her and said she is merely the “victim of political changes.”

Nazarbayev’s extended family enjoyed impunity from prosecution over the ex-president’s three decades in power. That changed following a wave of deadly political unrest in early 2022, which prompted Nazarbayev’s successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, to pursue a wide-ranging purge among the country’s ruling and business elites.

One notable casualty of these convulsions was Satybaldy’s husband, Kairat. He was arrested in March 2022 and later charged with defrauding the national telecommunications giant Kazakhtelecom and a railway services company to the tune of 12 billion tenge ($25 million) and 28 billion tenge, respectively. In September, he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Gulmira Satybaldy’s arrest arrived a few days after that of her husband. The charges against her stemmed from her dealings with a well-known businessman, Tursengali Alaguzov, who had owned a large soft drinks company, Galanz Bottlers, before it was wrested from his control. It was only once the Nazarbayev family began its fall from grace that Alaguzov sought the assistance of law enforcement in addressing his case.

Alaguzov, 53, told the court that Satybaldy used her political influence to pressure him into relinquishing control over his company. Ultimately, Alaguzov agreed to sell a 43 percent stake in Galanz Bottle in 2020 at a below-market value price, he told the court.

Another victim, Aigul Mekesheva, the owner of the Maxi Bottlers soft drinks company, said that she was abducted by Satybaldy’s accomplices and held at a country mansion, where she was threatened against her children until she consented to give up control of her company.

In addition to the Satybaldy couple, a court in Astana at the end of March sentenced another figure within the Nazarbayev family’s inner orbit, the former matchmaker to his daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, Kairat Boranbayev, to eight years in prison. The 56-year-old oligarch, who owned the McDonald’s franchise in Kazakhstan and Belarus, was found guilty of complicity in the commission of a crime, embezzlement, and money laundering. While acting as an intermediary between Russia’s Gazprom and state-owned QazaqGas, Boranbayev’s company sold Russian gas to the latter at inflated prices, resulting in losses to the state budget of $32 million.

Source : Eurasianet

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