The drama over the assets of the Kazakh secret service head found guilty of two murders, who has been dead since last year, continues
The former head of Kazakhstan’s secret service, Rakhat Aliyev, has been dead since February 2015 but in Malta, his family’s drama is still playing out at the Constitutional Court where they are challenging a freeze on his assets.
The Constitutional Court will have another hearing on 28 October to decide whether Malta should provide Kazakh authorities legal assistance in prosecuting Aliyev’s widow, Elnara Shorazova.
Back in August, the freezing order was extended for another six months on the companies Olympia Yachting Limited, Aurelius Holdings, EDS Holdings, Crimson Limited, various trusts and two media companies which Aliyev had hoped would become platforms for opposition propaganda in Kazakhstan.
Aliyev was stripped of his diplomatic immunity while serving as Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the OSCE in Vienna in 2008, when he was found guilty in absentia by a Kazakh court of the murder of two Nurbank bank managers. But Austria refused extradition because of the former Soviet republic’s human rights record – Aliyev was also forcibly divorced from his wife Dariga, the daughter of Kazakhstan dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the process.
Aliyev was also a vocal critic of Nazarbayev, and in 2010 fled to Malta when the Viennese prosecutor opened an investigation into the murder allegations.
In Malta, Elnara Shorazova has insisted in court that Kazakh secret agents monitored the family’s every move and at one point the family even filed a police report after the brakes of their car were wilfully damaged.
Serik Medetbekov, a director of the Kazakhstani opposition based in their foreign office in Dresden, Germany, said it was important that Malta extends its freeze on Aliyev’s assets. “As a victim of Aliyev’s crimes, having lost my businesses to him, I find it outrageous that his widow has unimpeded access to his funds, bankrolling a lavish lifestyle in Vienna. We commend the Maltese authorities for their decision to freeze Aliyev’s assets and urge their counterparts elsewhere – including Cyprus, where Shorazova is known to have large bank accounts – to do the same.”
Aliyev and his family attempted to relocate in Cyprus in 2013 but a bid for citizenship was prevented by campaigners who represent alleged victims of his, who filed an appeal with the Cypriot government to refuse him residency.
In June 2014 he turned himself in to the Austrian authorities, where he was held in custody, before being found hanged inside his prison cell in February 2015. His family insists he was murdered by agents from Kazakhstan but an Austrian court has ruled that the death was suicide.
Nazarbayev, 76, who has ruled the central Asian energy producer since 1989, has now appointed his daughter Dariga to the Senate, sparking speculation that she may be in line to succeed him.
Dariga Nazarbayeva’s move to senator from deputy prime minister brings her closer to the succession set out in the Kazakh constitution, which states that the chairman of the senate becomes head of state if the president dies or leaves office early.
MediaToday, 28 October 2016