Kazakhstan: president calls on business leaders to bring wealth back from abroad

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has angrily called on local companies and business leaders to bring billions of dollars kept in bank accounts abroad back to Kazakhstan, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported.

In remarks during a television program on December 6, Nazarbayev warned that he will get involved “personally” if the government fails to make business leaders repatriate their money.

“Eighteen Kazakh companies keep $12 billion abroad. That money could help our economy,” Nazarbayev said. “The state provided you with the conditions to make that money and you are hiding that money of Kazakhstan somewhere else? Enough is enough!”

Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, Timur Kulibaev, who is the chairman of the Atameken national chamber of entrepreneurs, was also on the TV program on December 6. According to Forbes magazine, Kulibaev is worth $2.1 billion.

In May 2016, a massive financial-document leak known as the Panama Papers named Nazarbayev’s grandson Nurali Aliev as being among wealthy individuals with lucrative companies registered in offshore zones.

A similar leak last month, dubbed the Paradise Papers, listed several Kazakh nationals, including Defense Minister Beibit Atamqulov and the chairman of KazMunayGas energy giant, Sauat Mynbaev, as owners of companies registered offshore.

Nazarbayev initiated two so-called amnesties for shadow capital in 2001 and 2014 in order to bring cash from foreign banks to Kazakhstan.

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Times of Central Asia