07ASTANA1466, KAZAKHSTAN: AUTHORITIES PURSUE RAKHAT ALIYEV

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA1466 2007-05-30 00:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9355
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHTA #1466/01 1500016
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 300016Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9595
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 0187
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0035
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1750
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 0041
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2214
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC//SCA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY/ 9596

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001466 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (M. O'MARA) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: AUTHORITIES PURSUE RAKHAT ALIYEV 
 
REF: ASTANA 1415 
 
Classified By: A/DCM Deborah Mennuti, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  In the wake of the May 23 announcement of a 
criminal investigation involving presidential son-in-law 
Rakhat Aliyev, Kazakhstani authorities have moved quickly to 
curtail Aliyev's ability to maneuver and to influence public 
opinion. President Nazarbayev fired Aliyev from his 
ambassadorial post in Vienna, an international warrant has 
been issued for his arrest on kidnapping charges, and a team 
of Kazakhstani law enforcement officials is in Austria to 
seek his return to Kazakhstan.  Aliyev's KTK television 
station and the weekly Karavan newspaper have been suspended 
for three months.  More of Aliyev's allies, including the 
head of the Almaty Financial Police and a relative, have been 
questioned by the authorities.  Aliyev continues to fight 
back in public, issuing statements on May 26 and 28 implying 
that he was being persecuted for his political activities and 
accusing Nazarbayev of "repressions."  End summary. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Aliyev Fired, Arrest Warrant Issued 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) After opening a criminal investigation on May 23 
against Rakhat Aliyev and two associates in the mid-January 
kidnapping of two Nurbank officials (reftel), the Kazakhstani 
authorities quickly moved to strip him of his official 
position and seek his arrest.  President Nazarbayev signed an 
order firing Rakhat Aliyev from his post as ambassador to 
Austria and the OSCE on May 26.  On May 28, Ministry of 
Internal Affairs spokesman Kozhakhmetov announced that an 
international warrant had been issued for Aliyev's arrest, 
and that a team led by a deputy procurator general and 
including Kazakhstani Interpol representatives was in Vienna 
to pursue the matter.  Kozhakhmetov said that an Interpol 
"red notice" had been issued in case Aliyev attempted to flee 
Austria. 
 
3. (C) Serzhan Abdykarimov, director of the MFA's Europe and 
North America Department, called A/DCM on May 29 to ensure 
that the U.S. was aware that Aliyev had been fired and was 
the subject of an Interpol warrant.  He added that the MFA 
understood that before being fired Aliyev had requested a 
meeting with unspecified U.S. officials in Vienna.  "In light 
of those developments," Abdykarimov said, "we would ask that 
you weigh carefully the expediency of such a meeting."  He 
reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov had 
gone to Vienna to personally supervise the operations of the 
embassy.  (Note: Abdykarimov, the son of former State 
Secretary Oralbay Abdykarimov, has close ties to Aliyev; he 
 
SIPDIS 
worked for Aliyev in Vienna and received his current position 
when Aliyev became Deputy Foreign Minister in 2005. He 
nevertheless delivered the message firmly.  End note.) 
 
-------------------- 
Media Outlets Closed 
-------------------- 
 
4. (U)  Late on May 24, the KTK television channel was pulled 
from the air, and publication of the weekly newspaper Karavan 
was suspended for three months.  Aliyev's Kazakhstan Today 
news agency reported that the suspensions were based on 
violations of the Language Law, which requires mass media to 
report 50/50 in Russian and Kazakh.  The Ministry of Interior 
had previously warned Aliyev's news outlets not to publish 
information related to the Nurbank case.  KTK is still off 
the air and Karavan did not publish on May 25 as it normally 
would, but Kazakhstan Today continues to operate and the 
gazeta.kz website has posted statements from Aliyev. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
Relatives and Associates Under Scrutiny 
--------------------------------------- 
 
5. (U)  MVD spokesman Kozhahkmetov confirmed to the press on 
May 28 that an MVD team had searched Aliyev's house in Almaty 
as well as the house of his father, Mukhtar Aliyev. 
Kozhakhmetov stressed that the searches were legal, were 
carried out under the supervision of the procuracy, and were 
witnessed by Aliyev's relatives and associates.  Although he 
would not disclose what had been discovered during the 
searches, Kozhakhmetov said that Aliyev is suspected of 
running an organized criminal group that had carried out a 
 
ASTANA 00001466  002 OF 002 
 
 
series of economic crimes and kidnappings. Using extortion 
and fake documents, the group had taken administrative 
buildings, land, and businesses, Kozhakhmetov said. 
 
6. (U) The head of the Almaty department of the Financial 
Police, Vladimir Kurbatov, was detained for questioning by 
the Procuracy and the Committee for National Security (KNB) 
on May 24.  On May 26, the press reported that Kurbatov had 
been questioned about the Nurbank case and then released, but 
would be questioned further. 
 
7
. (SBU) An individual who identified himself as a 
Lebanese-American and "Rakhat Aliyev's best friend" (and the 
brother of Aliyev's brother-in-law) contacted post's duty 
officer on May 26 to report that the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs had asked him to come in for questioning.  He asked 
if an Embassy representative would accompany him.  (Note: We 
informed him that consular access is generally afforded only 
to those in custody, and that it would be advisable to be 
accompanied by a lawyer at the questioning.  End note.) 
 
------------------------------------ 
Aliyev Implies Political Persecution 
------------------------------------ 
 
8. (SBU) Thus far Aliyev is not backing down.  On May 26 he 
posted a statement on gazeta.kz and other internet sites he 
controls saying that "I will always be in politics.  I will 
make every effort to prevent the country from turning back to 
the totalitarian Soviet past.  I know that I have a huge 
number of supporters in my country.  I am sure that the 
future will be ours."  In what was widely described by the 
media as an attempt to attribute political motives to the 
charges against him, Aliyev claimed that "several months ago 
I told Nursultan Abishevich (Nazarbayev) that I had decided 
to run for president in 2012."  Aliyev followed that up with 
a lengthy posting on the geo.kz website on May 28 in which he 
accused Nazarbayev, Interior Minister Mukhamedzhanov, and 
Almaty mayor Tasmagambetov of orchestrating the actions 
against him.  "The president has stopped being the garantor 
of the Constitution," Aliyev alleged; "repressions are under 
way."  Claiming that no true political opposition exists in 
Kazakhstan, Aliyev said that the country needs a political 
movement with supporters adhering to ideas rather than a 
single leader.  "But if the Constitution can be changed as it 
was last week -- without prior public discussion, unanimously 
after only a few minutes -- then there is no guarantee that 
there will be elections in 2012." 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
9. (C) Comment:  The actions of the Kazakhstani authorities 
come as no surprise and have clearly been sanctioned by 
President Nazarbayev himself.  While most of the steps taken 
by law enforcement appear justified by the charges against 
Aliyev, the GOK crossed a line by shutting down two major 
media outlets without due process or clear grounds.  When 
asked for comment by Reuters and Kazakhstan Today, post 
replied that "we are disappointed in the decision by an 
Almaty court ordering the independently owned television 
station KTK and newspaper Karavan to cease publishing for 
three monts. The right to freely communicate ideas and 
opinions is fundamental to democracy.  The public has the 
right to hear diverse points of view, even if those views 
differ from those of the government or may be consdiered 
offensive by some.  We call on the Government of Kazakhstan 
to honor its commitments to democratic reform and freedom of 
speech."  End comment. 
GILMER

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