Zurich. A criminal investigation in Switzerland has been opened into allegations of money laundering against Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland opened a criminal investigation in September 2010 into allegations of money laundering against Timur Kulibayev, one of his associates, Arvind Tiku, and others.
The investigation focuses on allegations of laundering approximately US$600 million held in bank accounts in Switzerland. The funds are alleged to have been initially obtained from bribes paid to Kulibayev and other proceeds fraudulently obtained by Kulibayev between 2000 and 2005 in relation to the sale of Kazakhstan state-owned oil and gas assets.
At the time of the alleged improprieties, Kulibayev was an officer in Kazakhstan state-owned companies, first as Chairman of the state-owned KazTransOil and then as Deputy Chairman of the state-owned KazMunaiGaz. At the time, KazTransOil controlled the entire infrastructure for transportation of oil and gas products in Kazakhstan, while KazMunaiGaz was the holding company for Kazakshtan’s state-owned oil and gas assets.
Pursuant to Swiss law, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland only opens a criminal investigation where there are sufficient grounds to suspect that a criminal offence has been committed. Acts under investigation were allegedly committed in Zurich, Geneva and Lugano Switzerland.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland is acting pursuant to charges being brought by a group of Kazakhstan citizens opposed to the state-sponsored corruption prevalent in Kazakhstan under the regime of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The parties filing grievances are all domiciled in Kazakhstan and wish to keep their respective names anonymous given the severe risks of retaliation.
Similar claims were previously brought in Kazakhstan before the Office of the General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan which were filed by a third party. The claims were rejected by the Office of the General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan amid speculation that the refusal to consider the charges was politically motivated.