September 24, 2020 admin 0 Comments

Margulan Seisembayev has returned to Kazakhstan after the billionaire oligarch was forced to flee the country for a second time.

Seisembayev posted a message on Facebook in 2018 saying he had left Kazakhstan after being called in for “interrogation” by the country’s financial police. But he has since returned to the country after friends including Galimzhan Yessenov vouched for the billionaire and negotiated his return.

According to Seisembayev’s Facebook posting, he left the country following the arrest of a former business partner Iskander Yerimbetov on corruption and money laundering charges.

Seisembayev wrote: “You may have noticed that I have been abroad for a long time. To avoid various rumors and speculation, I will write about the reasons. The fact is that they began to summon me for interrogation in the case of my former partner in KMobile and Bitel, Iskander Yerimbetov. He was arrested on November 11, 2017 on charges of money laundering.”

Yerimbetov was accused of corruption and money laundering while working at BTA Bank. He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison.

BTA’s owner was Mukhtar Ablyazov, who fled into exile after enormous losses at BTA were uncovered and he become a critic of the Kazakh regime. The authorities have been trying to extradite Ablyazov back to Kazakhstan but the billionaire banker remains in hiding in Europe.

Seisembayev made reference to the Ablyazov connection in his Facebook posting: “In my opinion, he [Yerimbetov] was arrested because of his sister Bota Jardemali, who worked as a lawyer for Ablyazov, since Iskander has no special business projects in Kazakhstan. Thus, the investigation wants to ensure that Bota Jardemali testifies against Ablyazov. But these are my guesses.”

Given the links to Ablyazov, it is perhaps surprising that Seisembayev felt safe to return to Kazakhstan but his politically-connected friends are understood to have negotiated a peace deal with the regime.

Seisembayev raised the possibility that his friends might help him to return in his Facebook post: “I do not slam the door, I will come back to Kazakhstan as soon as there are guarantees for the safety of my family and me.”

The guarantees were arranged by Galimzhan Yessenov – who has become a prominent figure in Kazakhstan following his marriage to the daughter of Akhmetzhan Yessimov, chairman of Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund and a close ally of former President Nazarbayev.

Yessenov’s business empire has grown rapidly since his marriage into the Yessimov family and he now owns ATF Bank and an agribusiness called Kazphosphate.

Yessenov started his career working at Seisembayev’s investment firm Seimar in 2003 and the two men now jointly own a private equity firm based in Singapore called Asadel Partners.

Yessenov has proved a valuably ally for Seisembayev and has twice used his political contacts to smooth over his partner’s difficulties.

The first rescue occurred after the financial crisis when Seisembayev’s Alliance Bank collapsed and was taken over by the State. The oligarch was accused of embezzling about $1.2 billion from the bank and he fled Kazakhstan.

The bank’s creditors and new owners began legal proceedings against Seisembayev and the UK High Court issued an order to freeze his assets, which was subsequently withdrawn.

Galimzhan Yessenov and his father-in-law Yessimov reportedly arranged a deal for Seisembayev that would allow the oligarch to return and settle the claims. It is not known how much they were paid for arranging this deal.

In 2011, Seisembayev was convicted of embezzlement (“illegal use of the bank’s money”) and given a two-year suspended sentence. Creditors and shareholders of Alliance Bank claimed that this punishment was too lenient but were unsuccessful in their appeal against the sentencing.

Despite Seisembayev’s repeated scrapes with the Kazakh authorities and his reliance on his partner Galimzhan Yessenov to keep him safe, the oligarch insists that he still loves Kazakhstan. He wrote: “This is my motherland and it is with me forever, no matter what it is.”

Kazakh Billionaire Returns From Exile With Help From Galimzhan Yessenov was last modified: September 24th, 2020 by admin

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