| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Kazakhstan challenges large asset transfer by ex-president’s foundation

Kazakh prosecutors have filed a case to overturn the sale of a local bank from the non-profit foundation of the late president Nursultan Nazarbayev to a foreign corporation, according to reports on Thursday.

Jusan Bank, the sixth-largest lender in the former Soviet republic, was once owned by the foundation Nazarbayev formed after serving as president of the oil-rich Central Asian country for three decades until his resignation in 2019.

But according to a statement by the prosecutor general’s office, the company through which the foundation owned the bank transferred its shares to Jusan Technologies, a British company, in 2020, “endangering public interest”.

Jusan Technologies’ parent company, Nevada-based Jysan Holding, in a separate statement on Thursday said it has filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Nevada against the Kazakh government, accusing it “of engaging in a campaign of fear and intimidation in order to seize control of the companies’ Kazakhstan-based assets worth more than $1.5 billion”.


A spokesperson for the Jusan Group said that Nazarbayev had “never had any role or connection – directly or indirectly – with Jusan”.

“This asset freeze is part of an attempt by the Government of Kazakhstan to unwind lawful transactions involving the Jusan Group that were undertaken with their prior express approval,” the group’s spokesperson said.

Nazarbayev, 82, fell out with his successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last year and lost key positions which had given him sweeping powers, such as the chairmanship of the security council, even after his resignation.

The Nazarbayev foundation, run by former education minister Aslan Sarinjipov, acquired Jusan in 2019 after it was bailed out by the state.

According to prosecutors, the foundation asked them this month to look into the case, describing the ownership transfer as a result of illegal actions by several entities.

Neither the foundation, which runs a university and a network of prestigious schools, nor Nazarbayev’s spokesman could be immediately reached for comment.

  • Reuters