The High Court of London ruled that the property of the daughter and grandson of ex-president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev worth $ 100 million will not be seized in favor of the British treasury. The court decision is published on the website of the judicial system in the UK.
As Forbes USA notes, this is the first time that a court has not upheld the position of the National Anti-Crime Agency (NCA), demanding the seizure of property. Zamira Hadzhieva, the wife of the former head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan Jahangir Hadzhiev, also tried to dispute the arrest of assets, but to no avail.
A mansion with an underground pool and a cinema on one of London's most expensive streets, Bishops Avenue, a house in the prestigious Highgate district and an apartment in Chelsea were arrested in 2019 under the Law on Incomes of Unidentified Origin. Under this law, the owner of the property - a "politically significant person" - must explain the origin of the funds for which it was acquired, otherwise it will be withdrawn in favor of the UK. The law, known as the “McMafia Law,” has been in effect since 2018 and is designed to suppress the flow of “dirty money” into the UK.
The NCA insisted that the houses were acquired for the criminal proceeds of Rakhat Aliyev, the ex-husband of Dariga Nazarbayeva. The key, from the point of view of the prosecution, was the assumption that Aliyev was the founder of the Manrick Private Foundation and invested illegally obtained funds in it, the court said. However, the judge deemed this NCA assumption "unreliable."
The judge also indicated that Nurali Aliyev, the grandson of the former president of Kazakhstan, legally took a loan from a bank to buy one of the previously arrested real estate. She also drew attention to the fact that Dariga Nazarbayeva had a fairly large fortune - in 2013, she became one of the richest women in the country according to Forbes Kazakhstan.
In response to a court decision, the NCA said it would appeal, the Financial Times writes. “We made it clear that we will use all the legal standards that are available to us in order to prosecute allegedly illegally obtained incomes. And we will continue to do this, ”Graham Biggar, director general of the NCA National Center for Economic Crimes, told the newspaper. “The sophisticated network of mysterious companies that owned this property, used to disguise, made it very difficult for investigators to find the people and sources of funds behind them,” said Duncan Hames, who is responsible for political issues at the British division of Transparency International in an interview with the newspaper.
Nurali Aliyev, through a representative, told American Forbes that the court’s decision proves that this is a “mistaken investigation, which is completely untenable.” He emphasized that the NCA "deliberately ignored" the information that he voluntarily submitted, continuing the "baseless and vicious prosecution." Aliyev emphasized that the agency also “insulted” himself, his family and Kazakhstan. Dariga Nazarbayeva told FT that the NCA used “cover for litigation” to “strike” its reputation and that of Kazakhstan.
Former Nazarbayev’s son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev has been Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Austria, representative of the country to the OSCE, deputy head of the presidential security service and first deputy foreign minister. In 2007, he was accused of involvement in the abduction of deputy chairman of the board of Nurbank Zholdas Timraliev, and in 2008 he was convicted in absentia of involvement in the abduction of a banker and an attempt to organize a coup d'etat, sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 2014, Aliyev was arrested in Vienna, and in 2015, he was found dead in a Vienna prison. Dariga Nazarbayeva - speaker of the Senate of Kazakhstan. Nurali Aliyev is an entrepreneur who, in 2019, took 31st place in the list of the most influential businessmen according to Forbes Kazakhstan.