Among the characters currently alive, Bulat Utemuratov is the oldest and fattest wallet of the former national leader. He embarked on the task of laundering stolen money together with the shadowy “kingmaker” Syzdyk Abishev, who brought Nursultan Nazarbayev into power. In a way, Bulat Utemuratov is the younger brother of corruption to Elbasy, not his “son.”
The recent scandal involving Bulat Utemuratov was personally hushed up by Nazarbayev when the role of Utemuratov’s structures in the offshoring of Ablyazov’s and BTA’s assets out of the country was revealed. It’s a rather amusing situation. Mukhtar Ablyazov is trying his best to prove that he “led a rebellion,” while the authorities are still searching for “twenty thousand terrorists.” And the sponsor of this outrage walks free?
Bulat Utemuratov, to borrow the apt expression of an American diplomat, is a “billionaire who has never had his own business.” All the business he had was serving the corrupt interests of the regime. Bulat Utemuratov is an integral part of it, a financial reserve. His persistent attempts to portray himself as a businessman are met with a simple objection: everything he did, everything his “Verny Capital” did, falls under certain articles of the Criminal Code, not amnesty. Fortunately, the significance and role of Bulat Utemuratov were not a secret to anyone. That’s why there were recent reports of Bulat Zhamitovich’s arrest, which, however, turned out to be false. They simply decided to have a conversation with Bulat Utemuratov.
Now Bulat is busy whitewashing his public image. Remembering the previous criticism, he has decided to sing songs about himself in “expensive” business publications. We are extremely pleased if his foundation’s activities result in something good for someone. But this should not make us forget that all the money he is (hopefully!) currently spending on sick children is nothing more than money that:
- Bulat Utemuratov stole for Nazarbayev.
- Bulat Utemuratov stole together with Nazarbayev.
- Bulat Utemuratov stole from Nazarbayev.
- Bulat Utemuratov stole on his own.
That’s the entirety of his business, down to the last penny.
It is not a secret to anyone, including Bulat Utemuratov himself, that he tries to hide, transfer ownership to others, or take out as much money abroad as possible. If he used to boast about being the richest man in Kazakhstan, now Bulat Utemuratov pays analysts to prove that he has become poorer.
Careful examination of the new edition of the Forbes list provides an interesting observation. Oligarchs have significantly underestimated their incomes, or better yet, completely concealed themselves from public view. This is particularly true for those who have worked and continue to work as “Nazarbayev’s wallets.” The most important and reliable wallet, Bulat Utemuratov, convinced Forbes to reduce his accounts by $700 million.
Forbes itself decided to write about the fact that they are “trying” to manipulate the list. Naturally, Forbes.KZ denies the bribery allegations and even tries to respond to the accumulated questions, including ours. For example, why is Nursultan Nazarbayev’s nephew, Kayrat Satybaldy, not listed among the country’s richest people? The publication justifies this by saying that Kayrat Satybaldy is under criminal investigation, making it difficult to evaluate his wealth. However, Kayrat was not listed in the Forbes list for several years, and there were no legal issues at that time. He simply wanted to hide, which he did, for monetary reasons.
Bulat Utemuratov has dropped to the sixth place
Bulat Utemuratov is a more prominent figure, and he didn’t even attempt to be removed from the list. The first place in the list even fuelled his ambition, and there was some sort of competition between him and Timur Kulibayev. It’s quite amusing considering that both of them owe their wealth exclusively to Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, in turn, stole from the citizens of Kazakhstan.
Bulat Utemuratov doesn’t own anything himself; almost all of his assets are managed by the company “Verny Capital.” In turn, he manages dozens of other domestic and foreign enterprises. “Verny Capital” has no significant public presence, so the stock price does not significantly affect Bulat Utemuratov’s capitalization. The figure of a $700 million decrease in wealth was simply pulled out of thin air, or rather from his pocket.
Bulat Utemuratov fails to present himself as extremely poor, nor does anyone in the administration believe it. Instead, the oligarch pays to avoid irritating the people too much. As a result, Forbes, through washing and rolling, pushed him down to the sixth place with a fortune of a mere $2.8 billion.
There are still several tested schemes for reducing one’s worth: inflating alleged debts and other corporate manipulations. Bulat Utemuratov, who paid Bloomberg tens of thousands of dollars for an interview with the headline “I Have Nothing to Hide,” knows how to conduct intriguing corporate affairs, and we are certain of that.