Daniyar Abulgazin, a ‘perfect lieutenant’, according to the Public Eye, of Timur Kulibayev, began his career as a Felix Derzhinsky Higher School of the KGB of the U.S.S.R. student in Moscow. He graduated in 1991. The Soviet Union collapsed the same year which left young Daniyar briefly unemployed. However, his skills and family ties allowed him to progress in finance and corporate areas. His highest point in state hierarchy was Vice-Minister of Finance, but he preferred to keep a distance with the state. He understood that there is much more income and power in corporate semi-state business than in rapidly changing Kazakhstan apparatus.
Timur Kulibayev presumably met Daniyar Abulgazin in state-owned Kazakh Oil corporation in 2002. Since then they are never too far away from each other, as we wrote earlier. Daniyar Abulgazin whose personal assets are valued more than $400m, gave presidential son-in-law Timur Kulibayev loyalty and expertize he required. Those qualities are rare and thus are in high demand in the Kazakhstan’s oligarchy. Dias Suleimenov, brother-in-law of Daniyar Abulgazin quickly joined the ambitious trio.
Unfortunately for the company the correspondence between Daniyar Abulgazin and Dias Suleimenov concerning oil affairs leaked online and became what is known as ‘Kazaworld leaks’. It shines light on the secretive community around Timur Kulibayev and the golden years of oil-related affairs.
Timur Kulibayev was appointed as the nation’s wealth fund head, Daniyar Abulgazin followed him. Abulgazin was the head manager of oil and gas branch, including KazMunayGas – Kazakhstan’s state giant. Together Timur Kulibayev and Daniyar Abulgazin acted in interest of Vitol corporation while maintaining their own corporate positions. They enabled Vitol monopoly over trading of Kazakhstan oil resources for a kickbacks given in sophisticated scheme to avoid tracking and prosecution.
Vitol gained control over the two most important oil fields by providing loan to KazMunayGas. The ‘cash for crude deal’ gave Vitol the privileged access. It’s nothing criminal in it by itself, it is often practised in cash-hungry third-world countries. However the way it was done makes the picture whole. Nearly one billion USD ended up in pockets of Nazarbayev/Kulibayev clan.
Kazaworld archives show that the privileged position of Vitol was gained by exploiting politically exposed person. The kickback scheme was based on making a joint venture. It was registered in 2003 by Vitol in Rotterdam. The name of the company is Ingma Holding BV. It was created to ‘invest in Kazakhstan’ but truly Ingma Holding BV serves for an opposite purpose as the documents shown. Daniyar Abulgazin and his group set it up to divest money from Kazakhstan and bribe local state authorities. The small and seemingly unknown company is in fact a hidden world-class oil trader with billions in sales and revenue. During the years 2009-2016 its turnover reached $93.3B. It is 1/5th of the total oil exported from Kazakhstan. Ingma declared the revenue of more than 1 billion USD paid to the shareholders of the private entity without declaring who those shareholders are.
We will describe the scheme in depth in the upcoming articles. Daniyar Abulgazin and his friends made an outstanding job concealing the beneficiary of the Ingma. However they were unprepared to the mail leak that followed.
photo credits atameken.kz