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Kazakhstan: Premier Admits To 'Secret Fund,' Bank Accounts

Astana, 4 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh Prime Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov today told the country's parliament of the existence of a secret fund and revealed that there may be accounts in foreign banks under President Nursultan Nazarbaev's name. Tasmagambetov said the secret fund twice saved Kazakhstan from bankruptcy. Tasmagambetov said the fund came from shares of the Tengiz oil field that the government sold in 1996. He said the fund now totaled some $1 billion.

Tasmagambetov also said there are accounts in foreign banks under Nazarbaev's name and that the Kazakh president has ordered all such bank accounts liquidated and the money returned to Kazakhstan for construction in the new capital, Astana.

Kazakhstan's opposition has said that Nazarbaev had large sums of money kept in personal bank accounts in western countries. Tasmagambetov said Nazarbaev did not know about such accounts and they were likely set-up by people "for the purpose of compromising his (Nazarbaev's) name."