Official reports on the disclosure of money laundering schemes in Britain and other “civilized” countries have long looked like a laughing stock against the background of real figures. For example, journalists of a number of American and British media have repeatedly stated that Bulat Utemuratov, Bolat Nazarbayev, Vladimir Kim and Dariga Nazarbayeva laundered a total of at least $ 12 billion only in the Anglo-Saxon conglomerate. Nevertheless, the next report from Foggy Albion gives much more modest indicators that would rather suit the conditional conman Turlov or toilet Margulan. And not to such monsters of family contracts as Utemuratov, Nazarbaev or Kim.
So, Kazakhstan — along with Azerbaijan (where they steal no less, but something gets to the people) and Pakistan (where they steal less, but nothing gets to the people) – entered the top three countries whose “politically significant persons”, that is, high—ranking politicians and officials or people associated with them, could be involved in laundering at least $280 million. This money was “invested” in residential and commercial real estate in the UK. Such data is cited in its report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), an American analytical center specializing in the study of illegal financial flows, corruption, illegal trade and money laundering.
The study analyzes suspicious transactions for 2015-2020 in three countries: the USA, Canada and the UK. Key findings of the report:
At least over the past five years, more than $2.3 billion has been laundered through real estate in the United States, and millions more through other alternative assets: art, jewelry and yachts; More than 50% of reported cases in the United States alone are associated with politically significant persons; Lawyers, real estate agents and investment consultants have become an integral part of the schemes money laundering in real estate, but the United States remains the only G7 country that does not impose the requirements of the anti-money laundering law on real estate professionals; Although commercial real estate was used in more than 30% of cases and, as a rule, had a significantly higher value than residential real estate, the US has not yet created any risk reporting obligations in this sector; the use of anonymous shell companies and complex corporate structures continues to be the number one method for money laundering. 82% of cases in the United States involve the use of a legal entity to disguise property rights, which underscores the importance of implementing a reliable register of beneficial ownership rights in accordance with the Corporate Transparency Act.
Bulat Utemuratov, the king of money laundering
In the USA, Kazakhstanis took the 12th place among immigrants from countries whose high-ranking residents are suspected of money laundering. The report cites transactions related to the scandal in which Donald Trump’s former business partner and adviser Felix Sutter was involved and $35 million, which was probably stolen from BTA Bank. Two years ago, the current leadership of BTA sued Sutter and the former head of the Trump Organization Daniel Ridloff in New York, accusing them of helping to launder $ 440 million.
In total, Sutter was suspected of receiving about $100 million for similar services from clients from different countries. It was because of accusations of laundering billions of dollars that Bulat Utemuratov received an arrest on all assets and accounts in Britain, after which he began to actively clean up the media space and negotiate with the plaintiffs, as well as British Themis. Bulat Utemuratov’s name also appears in the British part of the Global Financial Integrity study, along with Nursultan Nazarbayev’s former son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev and Elbasy’s eldest daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva, along with their impressive real estate portfolio in London and its not-so-cheap surroundings.
After the wave around Utemuratov subsided a little, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the fight against the “post-Soviet mafia” was reaching a new level. And for some reason, the first on the agenda were not Russian oligarchs or even representatives of the largest criminal syndicates, but the purse of Elbasy – Bulat Utemuratov.