|07ASTANA2214||2007-08-13 23:56:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Astana|
VZCZCXRO9237 RR RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW DE RUEHTA #2214/01 2252356 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 132356Z AUG 07 FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0372 INFO RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002214
1. Summary: According to the Agency of Statistics, law enforcement
agencies documented 53,700 crimes during the first quarter of 2007.
Economic crimes accounted for .07% (3,892) of the total. These
crimes included fraudulent property legalization, illegal business
activity, and other financial crimes. The government estimates
damages and lost revenue of nearly 65 million USD. Crimes related
to illegal manufacturing, purchase, transit, and sale of drugs
accounted for .04% (2,371) of the total. The number of drug-related
crimes has increased by 14.5% since last year. End summary.
2. The highest profile criminal case of 2007 has been the
investigation into the activities of Rakhat Aliyev, the
ex-Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria and President Nazarbayev's
former son-in-law. Aliyev is being investigated in connection with
the kidnapping of two senior managers of a Kazakhstani bank and is
also being investigated by Austrian authorities for money
3. Authorities opened an investigation after Austrian banks reported
several suspicious deals involving large amounts of money via
accounts opened in Aliyev's name. According to financial documents,
Aliyev established several accounts and registered them in both his
name and the names of eight companies that he managed. Several deals
involving large amounts of money were conducted via these accounts.
Austrian authorities are continuing to track the origin of the
money. However, according to the Prosecutor's Office, current
legislation is insufficient to charge Aliyev.
4. Kazakhstan requested extradition of its Ambassador on May 26,
2007 after attempting to recall him as part of the investigation
into the kidnapping of two senior Nurbank managers (Nurbank is one
of the largest commercial banks and Aliyev was a major stakeholder).
Though there is no bilateral extradition agreement between Austria
and Kazakhstan, some Austrian law enforcement authorities had
expressed their support for extradition, but a federal court
rejected the request on August 8 on the grounds that Aliyev would
not receive a fair trial.
5. Other high-ranking officials have been caught up in the Aliyev
case. Former head of Nurbank Abilmazhen Gilimov is under
investigation for illegal business activities and abuse of power.
Local press speculates that the chief of the Almaty Department of
the Financial Police, General Vladimir Kurbatov is also under
investigation for abuse of power and hindering the investigation of
6. In another high-profile case, Deputy Head of the Tax Committee of
the Ministry of Finance Sabit Kanatov is under investigation by the
financial police for abuse of power and tax evasion.
7. Major Arman Sapkin, former Deputy Head of the Criminal Police
Section of Internal Affairs of Semey was sentenced to 10 years in a
prison colony for attempting to force a woman to sell heroin.
Sapkin approached Malina Vertrova, the daughter of a woman convicted
of narco-trafficking, gave her 25 grams of heroin, and instructed
her to sell it and pay him 35,000 tenge (290 USD). Vertrova
destroyed the heroin and reported the incident to the Committee for
National Security (KNB). The KNB conducted an undercover operation
using marked money and arrested Sapkin.
8. The Internal Affairs Department in the Pavlodar region has
opened an investigation in the disappearance of nearly 107 grams of
heroin. While examining evidence, an inspection team of police and
prosecutors discovered that the heroin, seized in 1991, had been
substituted with a mixture of salt and baking soda. The authorities
have reportedly initiated a criminal case against police officers.
9. In an attempt to stop seized drugs from being resold, the
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is submitting draft amendments to
the law to allow for the destruction of seized drugs. According to
Maratkali Nukenov, Chairman of MVD Committee on Drug Trafficking,
there are currently 25 tons of drugs held as evidence. The draft
amendment would allow for the destruction of most of the evidence
with only a sample kept for expert examination.
10. On July 21, the Chairman of the Committee on Combating Drugs
appealed to nightclub managers to cooperate in the fight against
drug trafficking. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding
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and Cooperation. The signing took place as part of the "Astana -
Drug Free City" program. The Chairman of the Committee discussed
cooperation in the fight against drug addiction with the owners of
nightclubs. MVD provided recommendations on drug profiling to
security services of the night clubs and pledged to provide further
training. This cooperation between the GOK and nightclub owners
follows a series of raids on nightclubs in September 2006 and the
threat of closures of nightclubs linked to drug sales. The most
recent raids were conducted in July 2007.
11. Kazakhstan has officially registered 55,000 drug addicts.
However, according to experts, there are actually more than 200,000
addicts, which is equal to 1.7% of the population of the country.
According to Alexander Katkov, Director of the National Scientific
and Practical Center of Medical and Social Problems of Drug
Addiction, drug addicts do not seek help because the law requires
that information be submitted to law enforcement agencies. Katkov's
center has developed and proposed to the GOK a national and regional
program on combating drug addiction. The programs will focus on
effective drug addiction prevention, including a focus on teenagers
and children, and opening more centers for treatment of drug
12. To obstruct drug trafficking to Astana and into Russia, the
Department of Internal Affairs of Karagandinskaya in central
Kazakhstan, opened three fixed checkpoints in Karaganda, Temirtau,
and Osakarovka. The representatives of the KNB, Financial Police,
Special Units, and Department of Internal Affairs will actively
participate in the operation of these posts. This measure aims to
disrupt the drug trafficking routes from the south through Karaganda
to the north and Russia.
13. The draft law on combating money-laundering and terrorist
financing has been stalled in Parliament since October 2005, because
of the need to conclude the property legalization program. On
August 1, GOK concluded the legalization program and can now begin
work on adoption of the new law.
14. On July 12, officers of the Kyzylorda Department of the KNB,
jointly with the MVD, detected and destroyed a marijuana plantation
near the Berdykul artesian well. They destroyed 7,014 marijuana
plants which would have weighed from 2,500 to 3,000 kilograms upon
15. In March, Mangystau Department of the KNB arrested three
sisters and their husbands involved in trafficking heroin from
Uzbekistan. As a result of operation, 1.3 kilos of heroin was
seized with a street value of 27 million tenge (approximately
219,000 USD). In August, the Zhanaozen city court sentenced the
family members to 14-15 years in prison.
16. On June 26, MVD special units in joint operations with law
enforcement agencies from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Russia conducted 10 operations to disrupt established drug routes
that had been in existence since the beginning of the year.
17. On July 23, Kazakhstani MVD and the Russian Federal Service on
Control of Drug Trafficking (FSKN) signed a bilateral agreement on
cooperation for combating drugs, psychotropic substances, and
precursors. In accordance with this agreement, the two will
exchange information and conduct joint interdiction operations. The
agreement also includes a provision for assistance in the efforts of
combating money laundering as a result of drug trade.