Two members of the extended family of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev have resigned from the boards of state oil and gas shipping businesses, the Central Asian country’s sovereign fund announced on Saturday.
Kazakhstan’s leader for three decades until his departure in 2019, Nazarbayev, held broad powers until last week, when his successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took over as security council head amid deadly upheaval.
The 81-year-old former leader has not been seen in public since the protests began on Jan. 4, and Tokayev’s negative statements about him have fueled speculation that the two had a falling out before Tokayev sidelined his former patron.
The sovereign fund Samruk-Kazyna said on Saturday that Kairat Sharipbayev and Dimash Dossanov had resigned as CEOs of state oil pipeline business KazTransOil and natural gas pipeline operator QazaqGaz, respectively.
Sharipbayev is married to Dariga Nazarbayeva, the former president’s oldest daughter, according to her son on social media. Dariga Nazarbayeva and Sharipbayev have not commented on their connection. Dossanov is the spouse of Nazarbayev’s youngest daughter, Aliya Nazarbayeva.
Samruk-Kazyna provided no explanation for their resignations.
Tokayev stated last week that he wants Nazarbayev’s colleagues to share their fortune with the public by donating to a new charitable foundation on a regular basis.
The demonstrations in the oil-rich country last week were sparked by an increase in the price of motor gasoline in the western Mangistau region.
Authorities said on Saturday that they had detained a deputy energy minister and three other individuals they think are responsible for the “unjustified” price rise.