Rakhat Aliyev’s media center may dent Vienna’s reputation
Sept 05. Tengrinews
The Court of Auditors in Vienna (the audit arm of the parliament) has requested a check by the Constitutional Court into the ownership structure of Medienquarter St. Marx (MQM) media center, but was denied the check Der Standant writes.
The situation around MQM is related to former ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria Rakhat Aliyev being the owner of a majority stake in MQM via a complex structure that ranges from Vienna even as far as Malta and the Caribbean island of Nevis and includes trustees. The media believe that the situation is about to explode, as the medial center is 40% owned by the city of Vienna.
The High Court has confirmed charges against Vienna’s majority partner Rakhat Aliyev, Wiener Zeitung writes.
Rakhat Aliyev prevented Vienna represented by the Technologies Agency from providing access to all the documents to the Court as the city owns only 40 percent in the company. According to the law, the Court is eligible to make the check only in cases when state participation makes 50-percent or more. According to the media, some of the MQM documents submitted by the Economy Agency and the Technologies Agency were “not full and partially blurred with black paint”. Moreover, there is not much information on rental agreements and MQM refused to provide any information about the corresponding shareholders’ decisions.
The blurry structure of the media center’s ownership is criticized by Austrian Liberal Party and Austrian People’s Party. It is unclear why the city selected such a doubtful partner for the project, considering that Vienna’s prosecutors were running their own investigation separately from the alerts sent out by Kazakhstan. “It would be logical to assume that part of the property embezzled in Kazakhstan was transferred via scores of companies, accounts and gatekeepers to launder it and hide its illegal origin,” the ruling of the Vienna Supreme Land Court says. The Court earlier waved off the appeal against the search at Rakhat Aliyev’s residence.
The city is planning to sell its 40-percent stake by the end of the year.
In 2011 Aliyev was convicted durante absentia of murder of top-managers of Nurbank Zholdas Timraliyev and Aibar Khassenov after their bodies were found in Almaty outskirts. In 2008 he was charged with several grave crimes in Kazakhstan, including kidnapping (of Timraliyev and Khassenov). The sentence was given durante absentia, as Aliyev fled from Kazakhstan to avoid justice was hiding in Austria then in other European countries since 2007. He currently lives in Malta, where he was interrogated by Vienna prosecutors this spring.