Hitman confesses after 13 years: Tatishev’s death was murder, ordered by Mukhtar Ablyazov
It has become a much-publicised observation of late that London’s plush premises are the Land of Milk and Honey for white collar thugs from around the world. One of the most notorious among them now appears in the records as a murder assigner as well, according to testimonies in a Kazakh court of law by the hired gunman himself.
The shooter’s name is Muratkhan (“Murka”) Tokhmadiyev, alias Tokmady, on the surface a glass factory owner in Almaty but in reality also the alleged leader of one of Kazakhstan’s most feared crime syndicates and now jailed not only for that but also for an unconnected murder. The victim was Yerzhan Tatishev, a bank tycoon in Kazakhstan’s deep south who had teamed up with a partner with some reputation in England named Mukhtar Ablyazov.
The latter has embezzled an estimated amount of at least 4 billion, probably 6 billion and possibly 9 billion from the bank he used to control in Kazakhstan, known as Bank Turan Alem or BTA. He had co-founded the bank together with Tatishev, but when Ablyazov was on the brink of carrying out his fund diversion scheme, from the bank to hidden offshore accounts from where the funds were converted into offshore assets controlled by Ablyazov in private, he found that Tatishev stood in the way.
So far, the official version of the incident has been that Tatishev went hunting for wolves on that fateful day of December 19, 2004. In fact, the wolf seems to have been with him in his car. A gun “went off” when the vehicle hit a bump on the road, and hit the victim, who was at the wheel, in the head – according to the explanation instantly accepted by police, unlikely as it appeared.
“The physical elimination of Yerzhan”
Lately in a video-taped Almaty courtroom hearing following his arrest (for non-related crimes), Tokmady alias Murka has given a much more credible account of the shooting incident that killed Tatishev. “Each time I met [Ablyazov] he argued that Yerzhan could not at any instant keep or sustain his word,” the gunman was quoted in a transcript of the video which was published recently by the Spanish centre-right daily El Mundo [http://www.elmundofinanciero.com/noticia/71386/sociedad/muratkhan-tokmadi-en-la-pelicula-ktk-admitio-que-le-disparo-a-yerzhan-tatishev-especialmente.html]. “Little by little, he began to win me over, manipulating me, telling me that being friends with him would be to the advantage of both of us. He proposed to deal with the problem through the physical elimination of Yerzhan. This would happen during a hunting trip and made look like an accidental death. And so it happened.”
Tokhmadiyev relates how he took Tatishev’s security guard’s gun and shot his victim through the head. He was to receive 20,000 US dollar for his “cooperation”. After the “accident”, recognised as such by police, the bank filed a request for a judicial investigation, which it later withdrew. “I came to realise that Ablyazov had a hand in it all. Yerzhan’s death took place on the order of Ablyazov.”
It is just the latest round in the strange course of the wheels of fortune for Ablyazov whose misdeeds were recognised by English courts of law, including the High Court, but whom English law and order services with little sense of law let alone order let gracelessly escape to France after having been convicted to 22 months in prison for perjury. Now, it appears that good old England has not only caressed a thief but a murderer as well. Worse: France is still protecting the criminal from justice and Belgium is on the brink of laying out the red carpet for him, in an attempt to supply “evidence” against three other controversial tycoons from Kazakhstan who own the formerly London-listed Eurasia metal corporation.
Generating post-communist crime
As we related in earlier reports, Muratkhan Shakerkhanovich Tokhmadiyev, nicknamed Murka, was born in 1966 in Semipalatinsk – right at the time that the area, known as the heart of the atomic military power of the Soviet Union, started licking its wounds from numerous up-ground nuclear tests and following underground tests without much protection for the civil population to speak of.
In his early twenties Murka moved to Almaty, then the capital of Kazakhstan and already preparing for the post-communist era – generating post-communist crime in the process. Into the new millennium, “Nurka” Tokhmadiyev together with a comrade-in-crime by the name of Marat Bolatovich Turlykhanov found himself at the helm of a gang known as Deputatskiy Korpus. Important rings (organisatskiye pristuplenyie gruppiy or OPG in Russian) included a gang named Red Diamond, which featured a female mobster named Aygul Saulebayeva known under the nicknames Hippopotamus and Ike.
Closely linked to Deputatskiy Korpus were (and as assumed still are) Talgat Atabayev’s organisation Ataba, which specialises in arms trade and Aday Charbayev’s group, known as Aday, which apart from coal and fuel smuggling routes controlled transport and trade lines between Almaty and Moscow. Finally, there was, and still is, a powerful network known as the Four Brothers, at the time controlled by a certain Serik Zhantegulovich Matyshev with strong links to other criminal organisations operating in the south of Kyrgyzstan – in turn linked with first Prime Minister and later President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and family. As it happens, several members of that family are now equally enjoying the multi-hundred-million illicit gains of their period in control in London…
The most astonishing thing is that only in June this year special police forces raided the Kazstroysteklo glass factory in Almaty, the property of Tokhmadiyev, who has renamed himself Tokmady ever since he popped up in the guise of a perfectly decent businessman, family man and sportsman – he won several thriathlon contests in Kazakhstan – and last but not least chairman of the board of the national association of energy saving and energy efficient technologies. In a following raid on his luxury apartment in the city filmed by a local television channel and later broadcasted and reported in various local media he was finally arrested on charges with facts that had been widely known for well over a decade…
“The opportunism of criminal fraudsters”
At a conference held in The European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday 9 November, the Ablyazov files figures prominently on the agenda. Both real and fake (i.e. financed by the likes of Ablyazov to sing fugitive long-fingered gentry’s “persecution” tune) human rights movements have recently cheered at the removal of Kazakhstan’s master-crook from the international search list. Wrong, concluded the Euro-parliamentarians. Interpol and other supranational institutions for combatting various kinds of crime should intensify their efforts rather than sit back.
The conference was attended by several Members of the European Parliament, journalists and representatives from NGOs and associations. The speaker panel consisted of Honorary MEP Frank Schalba-Hoth, economist Björn Hultin, journalist Gary Cartwright and journalist Jarosław Jakimczy,” a report on the event published later by the online newsreel Euro Reporter [https://www.eureporter.co/economy/2017/11/22/financial-fraud-in-the-european-parliament/] was to read. “Mr. Hultin highlighted the sheer size and scope of many recent cases of financial fraud, amounting in some instances to several billion euros, which can have severe consequences and endanger not only a few individuals or institutions, but also put whole economies and societies at risk as these actions deprive governments of public money and resources. Mr. Schwalba-Hoth commented on the opportunism of criminal fraudsters in many post-soviet countries and their use of complex secretive structures in offshore companies to embezzle and launder stolen money, using the same schemes revealed in the paradise papers by large corporations to hide assets for tax evasion purposes.
“In particular, one of the largest financial fraud cases in history was brought up and discussed during the conference, relating to the embezzlement and laundering of up to $10 Billion by Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov,” the report continues. “Mr. Ablyazov currently resides in France where he fled after British courts sentenced him to prison in 2012 and demanded the recovery of more than $4.5 Billion back to Kazakh BTA Bank. Journalist Gary Cartwright explained in detail the process and timeline of how Mr. Ablyazov is believed to have undertaken the theft. It included, amongst others, the use of a vast number of shell companies set up in off-shore tax havens, who received large scale loans for fictional property and business deals.”
A campaign of slander
It was Jakimczy who during the event called for further investigation into a NGO called Open Dialogue Foundation, as we reported years ago one of Ablyazov’s media outlets laying the false trail concerning his imaginary “political persecution” in his country of origin, which last year prompted the French government to overrule the country’s entire justice system and refuse to extradite Ablyazov to the Russian Federation where he has been charged with multi-billion whitewashing of stolen funds by acquiring property rights on Russian territory. “Several companies that have donated to the NGO’s activities are flagged and sanctioned by the West”, Mr Jakimzcik was quoted as arguing in the report. Gary Cartwright who has followed the case closely said “There are more questions than answers related to the funding of ODF.”
President of the Open Dialog Foundation is a certain Lyudmyla Kozlovska, at the time Ablyazov’s extradition from France was hanging in the air co-signatory of a petition containing the usual lamentation in a weird mix of false arguments and legal humbug. “In late March 2014, representatives of the civil society addressed a statement to the head of the SSU, the Interior Ministry and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine with a number of demands, in particular: offer a formal apology and carry out an investigation with regard to the cases of refugees, affected by the actions of Ukraine, and their families; withdraw the request, filed with Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for Kazakh opposition leader, Mukhtar Ablyazov, and persons involved in his case; cease cooperation with the secret services of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other authoritarian regimes (in particular, post-Soviet) with regards to the prosecution, kidnapping and rendering of political opponents and refugees,” the petition read.
In a recent publication [http://en.odfoundation.eu/a/4393,urgent-negative-internet-campaign-against-mukhtar-ablyazov] the aforementioned Open Dialog Foundation launched rather an open monologue in a frantic attempt to thwart all attempts to bring the culprit to justice and get the stolen funds and assets back to their rightful owners. The false image of Ablyazov given by his agents goes together with a campaign of slander against all who demand justice. “According to the Open Dialog Foundation, an internet campaign has been launched against Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Kazakh dissident who is the chief opponent of Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev,” the post reads. “Currently, Ablyazov is being detained in Corbas Cedex, France where proceedings are pending for his extradition. Since July, on French websites, a negative campaign aimed at discrediting the oppositionist has been ongoing. The Foundation has reasons to believe that it is the Kazakh authorities who are behind the campaign. False information about Ablyazov first started to appear at the beginning of July 2014 on rarely visited blogs and websites where the oppositionist was compared to Bernard Madoff, the US financier sentenced to 150 years in prison for setting up a financial pyramid which led to losses suffered by thousands of private investors, organisations and banks. Initially, the information was being posted only occasionally and the quality of the written reports was poor, but since August, the campaign has accelerated. Now, when searching for “Ablyazov” in the Google search engine, false information about him is brought back by the google searchbot. A short video in the French language also appears in the search results; a video which throws bad light on the Kazakh oppositionist. The material was based on manipulated press headlines about the dissident’s arrest. A petition was also made available calling for his extradition.”
Among the “websites which replicate false information about Ablyazov”, according to the ODF, was the “Change.org” platform, “calling for extradition of the Kazakh dissident (already removed),” in the organisation’s words, “The petition created on 25.07.2014 to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov was signed by 1014 users. For the past two weeks, the positioning of the petition in the Google search results has improved considerably, moving up from page three to page one. Immediately before it had been deleted by the administrator, the petition was displayed to French internet users as the third search result. Also on the “Change.org” platform, a petition is available to defend Ablyazov, set up by his son, Madiyar Ablyazov on 6.09.2013. There are 2.848 signatures below it. The Foundation encourages support for this cause. moukhtarabliazov.brandyourself.com (website has already been deleted) The portal has developed a profile of Mukhtar Ablyazov where the dissident is labelled a “cheater” and calls for people to sign the petition.”
Law and justice under attack
Among other sites hacked and destroyed by the ODF was one called Microblog platform Tumblr – abliazov.tumblr.com. Also under attack was the blog “Prawda o Mukhtarze Ablyazovie” (Truth about Mukhtar Ablyazov) which in the ODF’s words “…has published a two-minute video depicting Ablyazov as a criminal, active in the international arena. The information on the website is based on manipulated press headlines which provided information on, inter alia, the dissident’s arrest and the judgment of the court of appeals of Aix-en-Provence. The blog also provided links to petitions and other websites which replicate false information (such as, for instance, fondationdemeurehistorique.fr, lesblogsdeplon.fr). The same video was also published on lederniermaitredelair.fr, with a link to the petition too.”
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The story of Mukhtar Ablyazov, one-time major shareholder and chief executive of Kazakhstan’s BTA bank, tells how well over 10 billion US dollar is supposed to have been reaped through his network of close to 800 fake companies.
Yet one more site “already removed” by the hackers at the time appeared to be fr.slideshare.net/moukhtarabliazov. “One of the accounts set up on slideshare.net provides infographics portraying Ablyazov as a criminal,” the ODF claimed – ironically ignoring that this is just what he is. Concerning the site banksterleaks.com, the ODF claimred: “The authors assert that their aim is to “communicate and disclose to the general public information and documents evidencing the offences perpetrated by bankers and cheaters”. “Most of the articles are devoted to Ablyazov even though some mention B. Madoff – most likely to make the website appear authentic, and to put the Kazakh dissident on a par with the financial swindler.” Finally, the websites moukhtarabliazov.fr and okhy.com/buffer/index.asp?web=moukhtarabliazov.fr “…provide false information about Ablyazov, and their authors also call for the oppositionist’s extradition,” in the ODF’s words. Briefly: whoever calls for justice is on the wrong side, and everyone who sings along with the likes of Ablyazov and Khrapunov against payment of fat (stolen) cash should be considered righteous…
It can safely be assumed that with new proceedings over the cash trail, involving the equally “dissident” Khrapunov family, and the opening of a murder case connected with the death of Ablyazov’s initial banking partner Yerzhan Tatishev, the cyberspace war will receive a new impetus as well. Meanwhile, laws against cyber crime, including hacking, have opened new options for the prosecution of the ODF’s likes. The fact that not just governments of UN member states but the very principle of law and justice is under attack here is something more naïve readers of propaganda pieces should definitely bear in mind in months if not years to come.