May 3, 2022 admin 4 Comments

Kenes Rakishev’s close friendship with Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s blood-soaked leader, is under scrutiny following threats from the United States to impose further sanctions on oligarchs who support the Russian regime.

Rakishev is a close friend and financial backer of Ramzan Kadyrov, ruler of the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The two men have posed happily for photographs and subscribe to the same radical interpretation of Islam. Kadyrov has described the Kazakh businessman as his “dear brother”.

But this friendship and the financial support given to Kadyrov could now expose Kenes Rakishev to US sanctions as the White House has warned that it will step up efforts to punish oligarchs who back the Russian regime.

And Vladimir Putin has few more loyal enforcers than Kadyrov, who rules Chechnya with an iron fist.

Kadyrov’s vicious militia has been accused of a string of abuses including murder, the abduction of opponents, torture and the persecution of homosexuals. International NGOs have described Kadyrov’s actions as “crimes against humanity”.

Kadyrov’s loyalty to President Putin appears to be limitless. Just two days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kadyrov announced his forces had been deployed to the battlefield.

In a video reportedly shot at Hostomel, an airfield near Kyiv, Kadyrov is seen dressed in military fatigues poring over invasion plans with other soldiers.

Images have also emerged showing a square in the Chechen capital, Grozny, filled with soldiers on their way to Ukraine to fight Putin’s war.

Such is Kadyrov’s notoriety that most businessmen avoid any association with him. But Kenes Rakishev has, instead, embraced the Chechen tyrant.

Rakishev allegedly offered to bankroll construction of Kadyrov’s luxurious palace in Grozny and even organised for Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme to fly to Chechnya.

So how did Rakishev come to befriend Kadyrov? Photos from the early 2000s chronicle the burgeoning relationship. In one, Rakishev can be seen tenderly embracing Kadyrov. On another occasion, the pair were pictured sat cross-legged having reportedly just prayed together.

And in one of the most shocking cases, Rakishev was pictured dressed head-to-toe in black Chechen military uniform arm-in-arm with Kadyrov.

In an Instagram post published in 2015, Kadyrov wished his “dear brother” Rakishev a happy birthday. He added: “We have been true friends and brothers for many years.”

Kadyrov deleted that Instagram post in 2020 after the US Government imposed new sanctions on the Chechen warlord and his key associates.

The Americans put sanctions on six companies and five individuals linked to Kadyrov, including his cherished football club Akhmat Grozny.

Rakishev managed to escape sanctions on that occasion. But the invasion of Ukraine and recent revelations about his business links to Kadyrov pose a new threat.

According to an investigation, Rakishev was intimately involved in the construction of Kadyrov’s opulent palace in Chechnya.

The palace is on the banks of the river Sunzha and has 13,000m2 of carpets, 4,000m2 of tapestries and is surrounded by a garden that features 16,000 roses.

Leaked emails have revealed that Rakishev was in contact with a luxury Italian furniture company in 2011 when the palace was under construction.

Rakishev was sent a quote of €2.4 million for work including marble flooring, luxury furniture, display cabinets for weapons and an enormous wooden Chechen coat of arms.

In one email sent by Rakishev, he said: “Tell the boss that I will pay for the project myself.”

While it is unclear whether Rakishev paid the final bill, the oligarch’s offer of help did not end there.

He also organised for Belgian actor Jean-Claude van Damme to fly to Grozny in November 2011 to celebrate the capital city’s anniversary.

Kenes Rakishev has devoted years to cultivating his image as a successful entrepreneur in the West. But Rakishev’s friendship with this Chechen warlord has revealed his true colours.

The question now remains: will Rakishev now join the list of sanctioned oligarchs as a result of this close association?

Kenes Rakishev Risks US Sanctions Over Ties to Chechen Tyrant was last modified: July 4th, 2022 by admin

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