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Nazarbaev Angrily Calls On Business Leaders To Bring Wealth Back From Abroad

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (file photo)
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (file photo)

ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has angrily called on companies and business leaders to bring billions of dollars stowed in bank accounts abroad back to Kazakhstan.

In remarks during a television program on December 6, Nazarbaev warned that he will get involved "personally" if the government fails to make business leaders repatriate their money.

"Eighteen Kazakh companies keep $12 billion abroad. That money could help our economy," Nazarbaev said. "The state provided you with the conditions to make that money and you are hiding that money of Kazakhstan somewhere else? Enough is enough!"

Nazarbaev's son-in-law, Timur Kulibaev, who is the chairman of the Atameken national chamber of entrepreneurs, was also on the TV program on December 6. According to Forbes magazine, Kulibaev is worth $2.1 billion.

In May 2016, a massive financial-document leak known as the Panama Papers named Nazarbaev's grandson Nurali Aliev as being among wealthy individuals with lucrative companies registered in offshore zones.

A similar leak last month, dubbed the Paradise Papers, listed several Kazakh nationals, including Defense Minister Beibit Atamqulov and the chairman of QazMunaiGaz energy giant, Sauat Mynbaev, as owners of companies registered offshore.

Nazarbaev initiated two so-called amnesties for shadow capital in 2001 and 2014 in order to bring cash from foreign banks to Kazakhstan.

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