Arrests made at KazAtomProm

26 May 2009

An investigation into activities at KazAtomProm has so far seen the arrest of three top executives as well former company president Moukhtar Dzhakishev.


The investigation is being made by Kazakhstan's National Security Committee, under the direction of the Kazakh Prosecutor General that last week removed Dzhakishev as head of KazAtomProm and installed former trade and industry minister Vladimir Shkolnik.


KazAtomProm is a state-controlled firm set up to exploit the country's uranium resources, which amount to 15% of the world's total.
The allegations against Dzhakishev concern the sale of certain uranium deposits. At the start of April, former parliamentarian Tatyana Kvyatkovskaya accused Dzhakishev of working with Moukhtar Ablyazov, the recently removed head of BTA Bank, to 'strip' state assets by selling certain deposits for the equivalent of only a few hundred US dollars to persons unknown. The Prosecutor General began investigating Kvyatkovskaya's claims in mid April.


In recent years KazAtomProm has set up numerous joint venture projects for a host of new uranium mines, with partners from around the world going on to invest a total of over $1.5 billion.


In addition to Dzhakishev, three other vice presidents of KazAtomProm have also been arrested: Dmitry Parfenov, Malkhaz Tsotsoriya and Askar Kassabekov.