Kazakhstan: Ex-President’s Nephew Sentenced to 6 Years over Embezzlement

Опубликовано: 03 Октябрь 2022

Nursultan NazarbayevKazakh former incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev and his family’s political influence over the nation took a plunge following the January 2022 protests. (Photo: UNESCO General Conference, Flickr, License)

A court in Kazakhstan’s capital city sentenced a nephew of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev to six years in prison for embezzling money from state-owned companies.

The imprisonment of influential businessman and former security officer Kairat Satybaldy, the son of Nazarbayev’s younger brother, marks the first verdict against a close relative of the country’s once powerful ruler.

Satybaldy, alongside four accomplices, was found guilty for stealing over US$58 million from the Transport Service Center company, and causing physical damages worth over $25 million to the telecommunications company Kazakhtelecom over the past four years, according to a live video of the court ruling shared by the local news outlet Radio Azattyq.

Last week’s ruling also means that Satybaldy has now been stripped of his rank as a major general in the National Security Committee, his properties confiscated, and he will be banned from holding civil service positions for a ten year period.

Kazakh authorities first detained the now-defamed nephew on March 13 of this year over alleged large scale theft in Kazakhtelecom, a company in which he owned almost one fourth of all shares. He was placed in a temporary detention facility.

A month later, as investigations continued, authorities said that owners of railway-related companies under Satybaldy’s rule, and with the help of state officials, made multi-billion profits by unjustifiably raising road access prices at the expense of everyday citizens.

Under his uncle’s rule, Satybaldy had held influential positions in the oil rich Central Asian country as the deputy president of the state-owned Kazakh Oil company and vice president of the national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Eurasianet reported.

In 2018, Forbes Kazakhstan estimated Satybaldyuly's wealth to be $163 million.

Nazarbayev resigned in 2019 after a nearly three-decade rule, and appointed Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to be his successor while holding onto the reins of the security council.

The two had a fall out when Kazakh people took to the streets in January 2022 to protest rising oil prices and Nazarbayev’s ongoing political presence, and Tokayev sought to distance himself from his predecessor.

The new president sacked Nazarbayev from his leading role in the security council following the uprisings and appointed himself instead. A number of Nazarbayev’s relatives were also dismissed from public sector jobs soon after.