Bulat Utemuratov’s son, Alidar Utemuratov, is following in the footsteps of his father. However, young Alidar has taken a different path and has not become a butcher; he skipped this step and instead became a banker. Alidar Utemuratov, known for his involvement in failed and money-laundering projects, as well as extravagant ventures like ‘Kazakhstan’s own Aliexpress,’ is now a majority stakeholder in Fortebank. This bank is closely associated with Nursultan Nazarbayev and Bulat Utemuratov himself. In fact, Alidar Utemuratov acquired the bank from his own father. In Kazakhstan, this kind of deal is considered fake, indicating that there may be ulterior motives behind it. What are the reasons behind this deal, and what is Bulat Utemuratov trying to conceal?
On April 17, 2023, at 16:26 local time, Interfax.kz, an official news media outlet of Kazakhstan, shared the following message:
ASTANA. April 17 (Interfax-Kazakhstan) – Alidar Utemuratov, the son of Kazakh tycoon Bulat Utemuratov, has increased his share in his father’s ForteBank to 7.5%, according to the bank’s shareholders’ registers published by the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE).
Soon after the message was published, Bulat Utemuratov contacted the Interfax editorial team and arranged for the article to be retracted.
The article was initially published under the URL https://www.interfax.kz/?lang=eng&int_id=21&news_id=61530 but is now unavailable. However, it is still accessible through the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20230417123147/https://www.interfax.kz/?lang=eng&int_id=21&news_id=61530
By deleting the article, Bulat Utemuratov is attempting to keep the change in bank ownership a secret. One possible explanation for this secrecy is Bulat Utemuratov’s constant fear of being arrested, given his reputation as Nursultan Nazarbayev’s financial backer. He is taking steps to divest himself from his known assets, transferring funds to safe proxies or abroad. He is quite capable of doing so; in just the past year, Bulat Utemuratov’s Forbes rating dropped by two billion.