A suicide in the prison of Vienna put an end to the first phase of a political-financial thriller which preoccupied the governments of Malta, Austria and the prosecuting authorities in Europe for years. The case is not closed. On the contrary, all the unknown aspects of a story where the leading part was played by a person who was found dead in the small toilet of the prison in Austria and was accused of blackmail, murders, threats and money laundering come to light.
We are referring to Rakhat Aliyev. Who was the no 1 most wanted person in Kazakhstan who stretched his nets to the whole of Europe, briefly passed through Greece and his business boomed through illegal activities?
Who was really the Kazakh who acted in the shadows and brought turmoil to a state, ending up dead in prison?
Zougla.gr conducted thorough research (in Greece and abroad) of Rakhat Aliyev and contacted his victims who did not hesitate to describe with lurid details the actions of the financial criminal whose reputation went beyond the borders of Kazakhstan.
The first encounter...
In October 2014, a group of officials with high representation from Kazakhstan hurried into the office of the then chairman of the finance intelligence unit, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, in order to be informed and provide evidence concerning a major case of money laundering which had been tracked down in our country.
The ex-senior official of Kazakhstan, Rakhat Aliyev, appeared to be head of the fraud case, having misappropriated millions in his country and having sent the money abroad, including to Greece.
Moreover, from the investigation conducted by the finance intelligence unit at the time, it had been discovered that the person in question owned luxurious real estate in the southern suburbs and thus a race against time started in order to track down "black" money in bank accounts and companies in which he had interests.
The lead player of the story is definitely not considered an ordinary person. Ex-head of the tax authorities in Kazakhstan, very close to the political leadership of the country and influential businessman, he was one of those persons whose contacts provide them with an absolutely protected environment, whatever this may imply.
It was him who, according to the document that had been sent by the prosecution department, "fabricated fictitious financial and tax breaches by various companies and then, under the threat of prosecutions, blackmailed the owners or their legal representatives and embezzled various assets".
The amount of "black" money which had been tracked down by the Greek finance intelligence unit is almost €240 million, while according to sources of zougla.gr he had transactions with Greek businessmen.
Hanged in prison
His name, until several days ago, had not been written in the Greek media, in contrast to the international press which dedicated an extensive report to notorious cases of murder and money laundering in which he was involved. However, a news report two days ago which due to the intense political affairs went unnoticed, changed the facts...
According to what became known, Rakhat Aliyev, ex-son in law of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was hanged in a prison in Vienna.
Aliyev was in a prison in Vienna since June 2014 and the morning on the day he committed suicide (his lawyers do not accept this version), he would have testified in a trial for blackmail against him.
Whether it is actually suicide or not, in no way can it be answered through journalist research.
However, what follows from the testimonies that zougla.gr obtained, is that the person in question through the power provided to him by powerful officials and politicians managed to extract millions of euros, move this through Austria to Cyprus, Greece and Malta and finally was never tried for his actions.
Politicians in office being accused
As you will see below, one of his victims who spoke to our online newspaper, states in front of the camera that Aliyev enjoyed the support of the Minister of Justice of Austria as well as the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta!
Petr Afanassenko was head of security for the ex-Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Akezhan Kazhegeldin. When he was asked to speak about what he had experienced from Rakhat Aliyev, he was particularly willing.
For that matter, his sole purpose in the past years is to inform the authorities of various European –and non-European- states in relation to what Aliyev had done to him as well as to other people from his country.
According to Afanassenko, Aliyev, in an attempt to prevent Kazhegeldin to contest the presidency of the country, fabricated in cooperation with others crimes in which he implicated Kazhegeldin in order to politically weaken him.
When the latter was forced to leave Kazakhstan after a failed murder attempt against him, his own nightmare began, as Afanassenko says.
"In 1999 Aliyev ordered my arrest and the arrest of my delegate, Mr. Ibraev, and then they took me to Aliyev's office who boldly told me: "Petr you know I do not need you, but I do need your boss Kazhegeldin. If you tell us what we need you to tell us, you will be fine. You will have everything, you will have a comfortable life. If not, you will endure hell".
"I and my delegate refused to betray our boss. In 2000 they fabricated another case against us. They sentenced each of us to three and a half years in prison. Exactly as he had promised, he realized everything. He placed us in the worst detention center. In 2009 I discovered that Aliyev had asked political asylum in Austria" he describes.
"He worked in Austria from 2004 to 2007 and had created many contacts with diplomatic circles" says Afanassenko, while he reveals that Aliyev's lawyer, who even advised him to leave the country, was Austria's current Minister of Justice, Wolfgang Brandstetter!
At the same time, he places within those involved Malta's ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tonio Borg, who, according to Afanassenko, tried to help Aliyev receive Maltese citizenship.
"He forced me to leave the country"
Serik Medetbekov, owner of a successful media company in Kazakhstan, went through the same, if not worse.
According to Medetbekov, Aliyev, on the occasion that Medetbekov was a witness in the case of Kazhegeldin and visited him in London where he was in exile, managed to steal his company.
"At that time, Mr. Aliyev was chair of the tax authorities and in the late '90s was placed deputy president of KNB which is the successor of KGB. It was very easy for him to fabricate fictitious stories about crimes against anybody. In September 1999 they informed me that Mr. Aliyev had fabricated a criminal case in which I had been implicated and I had a 24 hour notice to leave the country. Thus, from 1999 onwards I had to live abroad. Since then he stole my company, he absorbed it and it became part of his media empire" he notes.
In January 2014 Medetbekov along with other victims of Aliyev gave a press conference in Vienna where another businessman was going to take part who had lost his company due to Aliyev.
Eventually, Mr. Sabkibaev did not attend the interview since he died under suspicious circumstances...
"Aliyev's death does not signal the end of the campaign against him"
Zougla.gr contacted the director of Eurasia Democracy Initiative (EDI), Peter Zalmayev.
It is an international not for profit organization which focuses on the promotion of democracy and the rule of law in post-communist transitional societies in Central and East Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
Mr. Zalmayev, talking to our online newspaper, mentioned that he helps victims of Aliyev, such as Mr. Sedetbekov and Mr. Afanassenko, to achieve vindication.
"I have known Mr. Afanassenko from the beginning, in 2000, when I worked at the International League for Human Rights and the guards came to me with their boss, ex-Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Akezhan Kazhegeldin, to ask for support. The organization where I worked drafted a letter that condemned their persecution which was based on political motives. From the beginning it was a project of Rakhat Aliyev –to torture the guards so that they would harm their boss, Kazhegeldin" he stressed.
When he referred to the actions of Aliyev, Mr. Zalmayev noted that while "Rakhat Aliyev appeared as head of the opposition in Kazakhstan, a fighter for democracy and human rights, in reality he himself was a tangible example of the worst political system in Kazakhstan, using his positions in high office in order to persecute his political and business opponents. In this way, Mr. Aliyev preempted the attempts of his –many– victims for vindication".
Finally, when he referred to Aliyev's death, the director of EDI stressed that "his death is not the end of the campaign against him: Aliev and his wife have still millions of dollars in European banks. The victims of these financial crimes, including Mr. Medetbekov and Petr Afanassenko, must receive compensation for all the damage they suffered by him. I assume that Aliyev may have decided to end his life for many reasons. Firstly, we now know that the trial against him in Vienna would have taken place on 11 April and this was irrevocable. In addition, earlier this month the ex-guards of Mr. Kazhegeldin (ex-Kazakh Prime Minister) have testified by oath against him before the Public Prosecutor of Vienna (they accused him of torture in the late '90s) and he faced 5 years in prison if he was found guilty for this crime".
The investigation of the tax authorities
At the same time, the tax authorities (SDOE) were occupied in length with Aliyev's case.
According to well-informed sources which have worked on the case, for several months now the bank accounts which were linked to the deceased have been extensively scrutinized, while some real estate properties have been seized.
The same sources describe in detail that "Aliyev, being the son in law of the President of Kazakhstan became a tax official, then chief of the country's tax authorities and then Deputy Minister of Finance.
"All the means of production (factories, groups of companies etc.) with the fall of a regime would pass to the ex-soviet guards, whoever happened to be in a position of power. Thus, somebody who was chief of an oil refinery, with the fall of the regime would get the refinery. Aliyev got the monopoly of sugar with the blessings of his father in law.
"After being Deputy Minister of Finance, Aliyev became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and began to travel. When he went to the embassy of Vienna he met there the secretary of the embassy and because he liked her, he divorced the wife of the President. Now his ex-father in law accuses him of money laundering and Aliyev claimed that the money he owned was clean and legal. An investigation in several states is now under way".
zougla.gr, Monday, 2 March 2015