Tajikistan: Money by Marriage
Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia. And it is one of the region’s poorest, depending heavily on remittances from millions of laborers who work seasonally in Russia.
But its troubles aren’t just due to its difficult terrain or its Soviet past. Tajikistan is ruled by an authoritarian president who awards himself grand titles that literally place him above the constitution.
In such a country, family connections can mean everything. The stories below show how a young man who married into President Emomali Rahmon’s family became a leading businessman. They also reveal what happens to those who cross him.
Faroz, the company the young man built, has grown so big that it’s difficult to name an industry where it’s not present. With interests from oil and minerals to customs terminals and ski resorts, there’s hardly a market it doesn’t rule. It even manages to collect mysterious payments from foreign companies in exchange for valuable favors.
Read the stories below for an in-depth look at how a modern kleptocracy works.
Just over half a year after its original publication, a man interviewed by OCCRP reporters for this project was kidnapped in Moscow. His story — and a new investigation into the man he says betrayed him — are below.
Coordinator: Miranda Patrucic
Reporters: Vlad Lavrov, Ilya Lozovsky, Olga Gein, Bermet Talant, Irene Velska, Katarina Sabados, Sinead Carolan, Eleanor Rose, Lejla Sarcevic, Lejla Camdzic, OCCRP Tajikistan
Editors: Miranda Patrucic, Ilya Lozovsky, Drew Sullivan, Maxim Edwards
Fact Checkers: Birgit Brauer, Sergiu Ipatii, Inna Kyvyrzhik, Bojana Pavlovic
Translation: Ilia Donskikh, Andrei Shigorets, Marina Denisyeva, Daria Suleiman
Promotion: Stella Roque, Ilia Donskih
Images: Edin Pasovic
Layout: Adem Kuric, Michal "Rysiek" Wozniak