RG Gold mine is one of the companies that Bulat Utemuratov uses to artificially inflate the asset price and then sell it to the international investors. As a result of the deal investors pay a kickback to Bulat Utemuratov and the former president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The irony is, Bulat Utemuratov siphoned the state fund out of the state… using the money he got in a framework of governmental support.
Dmitry Shishkin, Kazakshtani journalist, wrote an article about the RG Gold company and the role of state aid in it. This asset came under the control of Bulat Utemuratov in 2013 as a result of a deal with businessman Yerbolat Apsalyamov.
Bulat Utemuratov’s RG Gold got billions in state support
According to journalist Dmitry Shishkin, even before the deal with the Verny Capital Group (when the business belonged to Apsalyamov), in 2010-2011 the Gold Land LLP project for the development of gold-bearing ores of the Novodniprovsky ore field was invested in the amount of 78.16 million tenge under the state program. It should be noted that during the so—called first five—year plan – unlike the second – large-scale business support was carried out at the expense of the state.
In 2015, RG Gold LLP implemented a new investment project under the state program within the framework of the so-called 2nd five-year plan of industrialization. The volume of investments amounted to 910 million tenge.
In June 2021, the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (a subsidiary of the Baiterek national holding) announced the provision of a loan in the amount of up to $300 million to the sister structure of RG Gold — TOO RG Processing LLP.
“As you can see, the scheme with the gold-bearing business RG Gold is quite simple, in a way, it is an illustration of a kind of subspecies of the notorious public-private partnership. The state helps to develop business in different ways: with the help of its various state programs, including concessional lending, and then helps to sell products,” Shishkin said.
According to Forbes, Utemuratov ranks 6th in the list of the 50 richest businessmen in Kazakhstan. The value of its assets as of May 2022 was $2.8 billion. However Bulat Utemuratov has used the state funds to finance the RG Gold company, thus effectively robbing the state.
The most notorious cases of corruption in Kazakhstan are associated with semi-state funds and companies which operate without supervision. Bulat Utemuratov is one of the businessmen who, according to the former US diplomat, ‘never had a business’. The whole business of Bulat Utemuratov consists of being a wallet for Nursultan Nazarbayev criminally assessed capitals.