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British Inquest Says Grandson Of Ex-Kazakh President Nazarbaev Died Of Natural Causes, Cocaine Addiction


Aisultan Nazarbaev was found unconscious in a London park in August 2020.

А British coroner has concluded that Aisultan Nazarbaev, a grandson of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, died of natural causes last year, as a result of a cocaine addiction.

The finding, announced March 24, was expected to tamp down persistent suspicions about the circumstances leading up to his death. He was found unconscious in a London park on August 16, 2020.

Aisultan, 29, had battled addiction for some years. He had also made several public accusations of corruption against his family, which had raised suspicions that his death might be the result of foul play.

But during the inquest, senior coroner Fiona Wilcox agreed with the testimony of witnesses, police inspectors, and a psychiatrist who portrayed the circumstances as not suspicious, and drug-related.

“I find that Aisultan died as the result of natural cause; he died as a result of his addiction to cocaine,” she said at the conclusion of the hearing. “I was totally able to exclude suspicious circumstances in this death.”

He was the second son of Darigha Nazarbaeva -- the former Kazakh leader’s elder daughter -- and her late ex-husband, Rakhat Aliyev, who died in 2015 in an Austrian prison while under investigation for murder.

Aisultan once served as vice president of Kazakhstan's national soccer federation, but in recent years he made news for criticizing the authorities and members of his powerful family.

He had spoken publicly about his drug addiction. Testimony provided to the inquest showed he had extremely high levels of cocaine in his blood at the time of his death.

In October 2019, he received a suspended sentence from a British court after he was found guilty of assaulting a London police officer earlier that year.

In February 2020, Aisultan said that he was seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. A police inspector who spoke at the inquest, Chris Everett, said Aisultan had a diplomatic passport with a business visa at the time of his death, and there was no record that he had applied for political asylum.

“We are devastated at the loss of our beloved Aisultan. His death has left us with an unimaginable sorrow from which we will never recover,” a statement released by the Nazarbaev family’s spokeswoman after the inquest said. “We ask for privacy at this very difficult time.”

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    Mike Eckel

    Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent in Prague, where he reports on developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and money laundering. Before joining RFE/RL in 2015, he worked for the Associated Press in Moscow. He has also reported and edited for The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera America, Voice of America, and the Vladivostok News.

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