Kazakh Activist Aset Nurzhaubay Blames Fugitive Oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov For "Ratting" On Him To Police

A citizen of Kazakhstan, who was convicted for participating in the banned political movement “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” (DVK), has sensationally claimed that he was set up to be arrested as a result of a tip-off from the fugitive oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, aka “the world’s richest fraudster”.

Aset Nurzhaubay, aged 30, shared his story with journalists on camera, reports Kazakh newspaper “Caravan”.

“I wanted to share the truth, to tell all those who continue to write to me on Facebook, and those who claim that law enforcement officers had forced me to give false testimony,” he began his story.

According to Nurzhaubay, at first he was impressed by the ideas of Ablyazov, who currently reside in France. The oligarch, known for his multi-billion dollar embezzlement from BTA Bank, declared “an increase in salaries and pensions, as well as an improvement in life” if he comes to power.

“I initially wrote to Ablyazov via Facebook messenger. In early January, he answered me. I talked a bit with him, shared ideas, and thoughts about actions that would help attract supporters to the DVK”, he said.

On various nights in Almaty a man now known to have been Nurzhaubay was reported making graffiti and slogans in support of “DVK”, videoing his nightly work in support of the banned movement. He then sent these videos personally to Mukhtar Ablyazov, who subsequently published them on social media networks.

Nurzhaubay said that he followed all precautions when preparing the videos, hiding his face, and changing the voice in the videos, which were filmed on a camera which did not have access to the Internet.

“There is not one single piece of material evidence in the case file that these videos and photos were made by me. They had nothing on me. I did not come across any video cameras, not a single witness saw any of this,” said Nurzhaubay, explaining that a tip-off to the police is the only explanation for his arrest in April.

Nurzhaubay was accused of participating in the activities of the “DVK” movement, which was categorised by the Kazakh authorities as an extremist organisation in March of this year.

In addition, he was accused of having stolen from his cohabitant 3,6 million tenge (about 8.5 thousand euros) by means of deception and abuse of trust.

In October, a court in Almaty sentenced him to a four years conditional or suspended sentence.

In his plea, he declared his complete repentance and attacked Mukhtar Ablyazov saying that the fugitive banker had deceived him and did not provide him a lawyer, as had been promised.

He also stated his belief that in Kazakhstan “no one was prosecuted for purely political reasons”, and called on citizens not to believe Ablyazov, who, according to Nurzhaubay, pursues only his own selfish goals.

“I realise now that Ablyazov could have “ratted” on me so as to put me in prison, and then he would be able to weave intrigues about my case in Europe presenting it as one of political persecution,” he suggested.

After the trial, Nurzhaubay decided to write to Ablyazov on Facebook in order to “express his feelings”, he said. “But in response, he began to accuse me, saying that I was myself responsible for everything that happened to me, and that he did not ask me to do any of this,” he said.

“We are used as “cannon fodder” in order to look like victims in the eyes of the European Parliament,” he said, suggesting that the motive of Mukhtar Ablyazov was always to inform the law enforcement agencies of Kazakhstan about him.

The controversial Warsaw and Brussels based human rights organisation “Open Dialog”, headed by Ukrainian citizen, and also allegedly the holder of a Russian passport, Lyudmila Kozlovska, has recognised Nurzhaubay as a political prisoner. Nevertheless, in his interview, Nurzhaubay distanced himself from the NGO and the people associated with it, accusing them of acting in concert with Ablyazov in “deception”.

Astana's Esil District Court ruled on March 13 that DVK “propagates the forcible change of Kazakhstan’s constitutional order” and thus qualifies as extremist. 

Mukhtar Ablyazov and two other Kazakh opposition figures living abroad announced the creation of the DVK movement in April 2017, saying its goal would be “democratic reform of Kazakhstan.” Ablyazov claims himself as a foe of the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune is a Paris-based freelance journalist, and an occasional contributor to EU Today. He has a background in intelligence gathering, and he specialises in business and political matters, with a particular interest in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

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