Akhmetzhan Yessimov (born 19 December 1950) is the chairman of Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s $60 billion sovereign wealth fund. Yessimov has had a long career in politics and has held a number of prominent roles including deputy prime minister and mayor of Almaty.
Yessimov is reportedly a close ally of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and it is thought that his wealth stems from his political connections. In 2007, Yessimov is reported to have given his son-in-law, Galimzhan Yessenov, $120 million to acquire a fertilizer company called Kazphosphate.
Yessimov has also reportedly used his political connections and wealth to help his son-in-law’s bank. ATF Bank has received two bailouts from the National Bank of Kazakhstan worth nearly $350 million. In addition, Samruk-Kazyna, which Yessimov chairs, has deposited a further $350 million at ATF despite this breaching the fund’s governance rules.
Yessimov also reportedly helped his son-in-law arrange for the return of a Kazakh billionaire, Margulan Seisembayev, who had fled the country following the collapse of Alliance Bank in 2009. Seisembayev returned to Kazakhstan and was subsequently found guilty of embezzling $1.2 billion but he was given only a suspended sentence.
Seisembayev was forced to flee Kazakhstan for a second time in 2017 after the arrest of a former business partner on corruption charges. Yessimov and Yessenov were again paid to negotiate a deal for his return.
Yessimov graduated from the Faculty of Mechanics at the Kazakh Agricultural Institute in 1974 and became first deputy chairman of agriculture for Kazakhstan in 1990. He has held a number of other positions in this sector including Minister for Agriculture between 2006 and 2008. Between 1998 and 2001, Yessimov was Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Yessimov has two daughters. Ayzhan married Galimzhan Yessenov in 2007 and is the owner of a hospitality company called Estau. The other daughter is called socialite called Galiya and she is married to Orken Yessey, the owner of a beauty chain of shops. Yessey has a high-profile on social media where he shows off his wealth, including a Rolls Royce Phantom. The marriage of Galiya and Orken Yessey causes a scandal in Kazakhstan when Yessimov rented an entire ski village to celebrate the occasion, causing massive disruption for local residents.
Yessimov is a politically exposed person according to the Worldcheck compliance database.