Kazakh oil resize


Kazakhstan was ruled from 1990 to 2019 by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who enjoyed immunity from prosecution despite having allegedly received bribes from foreign oil companies in the 1990s. Read more

This scandal, dubbed ‘Kazakhgate’, led to the trial of an American businessman alleged to have paid US$78 million in bribes to two top Kazakh officials. As Global Witness detailed in our 2004 report, 'Time for Transparency', court filings indicate that President Nazarbayev was one of these officials.

Members of Nazarbayev’s family are reportedly worth billions of dollars and have held senior positions in state businesses. In 2010, Global Witness released 'Risky Business', a report about the Kazakh copper mining giant Kazakhmys. It revealed allegations from numerous Kazakh sources, including former members of the country’s ruling elite, that senior executives of the company owed their positions to President Nazarbayev. This information was not disclosed to investors when Kazakhmys was listed on the London Stock Exchange, exposing investors, including pension funds that hold savings for ordinary people to unquantifiable risk. The report highlights how better checks need to be carried out on companies on the stock exchange to make sure that the British public are not indirectly propping up corrupt regimes.

Since the publication of 'Risky Business', Kazakhmys (now KAZ Minerals) has dropped off the FTSE 100 due to its falling share price. 

Global Witness continued to investigate the role of the Kazakh-based Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) in the secret sales of prize mining assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo.