In the “Plunder And Patronage In The Heart Of Central Asia” series, RFE/RL, OCCRP, and Kloop used evidence provided by a self-confessed money launderer to show how more than $700 million, including proceeds from a regional cargo-smuggling empire run by a secretive family, was funneled out of Kyrgyzstan.
The initial publication late last year provoked protests in the country, particularly since the stories implicated Raimbek Matraimov, a powerful former customs official, in enabling and profiting from the business. No serious criminal investigation into the corruption revealed in the stories appears to have been launched.
The Abdukadyr family, which ran the smuggling empire, has made no response -- but the powerful Matraimov family, many of whose members are current or former senior government officials, did. The Matraimovs did not stop at denying the facts presented in the stories. Following the stories’ publication, they launched a libel suit against RFE/RL and Kloop that is still ongoing.
The family, their supporters, and even government agencies have also sought to throw doubt on the authenticity of the financial records used in the investigations, claiming that Aierken Saimaiti, the money launderer who provided them, had given reporters fraudulent documents. Saimaiti -- who is now the subject of an investigation by Kyrgyzstan’s security services -- was murdered in Istanbul shortly before the release of the stories.
Reporters did everything possible to corroborate the authenticity of the documents he provided. In many cases, they were able to corroborate sums and other details listed in the records with publicly available information, including real estate records in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. A small selection of U.S. bank records newly obtained by reporters confirms dozens of Saimaiti’s wire transfers, suggesting that he broadly provided authentic documents.
In the interest of full transparency, we are now releasing the original documents used in the investigations. The documents contain minor redactions of account numbers and private individuals’ names.
The interactive map below collects all 843 transactions provided by Saimaiti in one searchable database. The map shows how much money was received in each country from Kyrgyzstan or Turkey. In cases when the transactions were backed by individual documents, these documents are downloadable, individually or as a package. A spreadsheet in which Saimaiti recorded many other transactions is also available for download. Transactions that appeared to be duplicates have been removed and the data has been slightly reformatted to make the interactive graphic more functional.
Click here to download all the records together.
Click here to download Saimaiti’s spreadsheet.
Click here to download the source data behind the interactive table.
We are also releasing a separate collection of documents provided by Saimaiti. These invoices, fake loan agreements, sham contracts, and personal ledgers provide additional context and detail on how he carried out his massive money laundering scheme over the years.
Click here to download the invoices.
Click here to download the fake loan agreements and sham contracts.
Click here to download Saimaiti’s personal ledgers and notes.
“Plunder And Patronage In The Heart Of Central Asia” is a joint effort by Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; OCCRP; and OCCRP's Kyrgyz member center, Kloop. Over two dozen journalists from these organizations worked for months to make the investigation possible. Due to multiple threats received by reporters and editors over this period, their names are not disclosed.