Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 10ASTANA72, KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #10ASTANA72.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ASTANA72 2010-01-25 08:08 2010-11-29 23:11 SECRET Embassy Astana
VZCZCXRO6688
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHNP
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHTA #0072/01 0250814
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 250814Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7265
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 2396
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1758
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 1374
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2464
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 1954
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 1804
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2973
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2683
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000072 
  
 SIPDIS 
  
 STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB 
  
 E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2030 
 TAGS: PGOV PINR EPET EINV KCOR RS CH KZ
 SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  MONEY AND POWER 
  
 REF: ASTANA 0061 
  
 Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland:  1.4 (b), (d) 
  
 1.  (S) SUMMARY:  During a private dinner, KazMunaiGaz First 
 Vice President Maksat Idenov named, in his view, the four 
 most powerful gate-keepers around President Nursultan 
 Nazarbayev:  Chief of Administration and General Services of 
 the President's Office Sarybai Kalmurzayev, the President's 
 Chief of Staff Aslan Musin, State Secretary-Foreign Minister 
 Kanat Saudabayev, and the tandem of Prime Minister Karim 
 Masimov and Nazarbayev's billionaire son-in-law Timur 
 Kulibayev.  According to Idenov, in Kazakhstan, market 
 economy means capitalism, which means big money, which means 
 large bribes for the best connected.  The following details 
 are a single snapshot of one version of current reality.  The 
 significant point is that Nazarbayev is standing with Idenov, 
 not Kulibayev, to maintain international standards to develop 
 the massive Kashagan and Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects. 
 END SUMMARY. 
  
 2.  (S) On January 21, KazMunaiGaz First Vice President 
 Maksat Idenov and the Ambassador had a one-on-one dinner in a 
 nearly empty restaurant (times are still hard!) at the 
 Radisson hotel in Astana.  When the Ambassador arrived, 
 Idenov was barking into his cell phone, "Mark, Mark, stop the 
 excuses!  Mark, listen to me!  Mark, shut up right now and do 
 as I say!  Bring the letter to my office at 10:00 pm, and we 
 will go together to take it to (Minister of Energy and 
 Mineral Resources, MEMR) Mynbayev at his house."  On ending 
 the call, Idenov explained he was talking to British Gas (BG) 
 Country Director for Kazakhstan Mark Rawlings who had missed 
 the deadline to deliver a letter about arbitration on the 
 Karachaganak super-giant oil-field project (reftel).  Still 
 clearly steamed, Idenov alleged, "He's still playing games 
 with Mercator's James Giffin," the notorious AmCit fixer 
 indicted for large-scale bribery on oil deals in the 1990s, 
 whose case drags on in the Southern District Court of New 
 York.  "I tell him, 'Mark, stop being an idiot!  Stop 
 tempting fate!  Stop communicating with an indicted 
 criminal!'"  Idenov asked, "Do you know how much he 
 (Rawlings) makes?  $72,000 a month!  A month!!  Plus 
 benefits!  Plus bonuses!  Lives in Switzerland but supposedly 
 works in London.  Comes here once a month to check in.  Nice 
 life, huh?" 
  
 3.  (S) Idenov calmed down and said, "Let's look at the 
 menus."  Then he immediately started typing on his PDA and 
 turned the screen toward the Ambassador, saying, "Let's look 
 at the 'four courses.'"  On the screen were four names: 
 Kalmurzayev, Musin, Saudabayev, and Masimov-Kulibayev." 
 Idenov said, "The Big Four around Number One."  (NOTE: 
 Sarybai Kalmurzayev, currently the head of Administration and 
 General Services in the Presidential Administration, was, 
 among other jobs, a former head of the Financial Police and, 
 before that, in the 1990s, in charge of privatization.  Aslan 
 Musin is the current Chief of Staff for Nazarbayev.  Kanat 
 Saudabayev, a personal friend of Nazarbayev for nearly 40 
 years, is Minister of State and Foreign Minister.  Karim 
 Masimov is Prime Minister, and Timur Kulibayev is currently 
 the favored presidential son-in-law, on the Forbes 500 list 
 of billionaires (as is his wife separately), and the ultimate 
 controller of 90% of the economy of Kazakhstan.  END NOTE.) 
 In response to a question, Idenov said that Masimov has a 
 degree of freedom, but never acts without permission from 
 "the hyphen" (Kulibayev).  Then Idenov stood up abruptly and 
 carried his PDA to a ledge about 20 feet from the table and 
 asked the Ambassador to turn off his cell phone. 
  
 4.  (S) Idenov said he wanted to explain why he has been less 
 visible for at least the last half year.  Starting last 
 spring, all the "Big Four" (on the menu) began blocking him 
 from seeing President Nazarbayev.  In October, KMG President 
  
 ASTANA 00000072  002 OF 003 
  
  
 Kairgeldy Kabyldin told Idenov, "Kulibayev doesn't want to 
 work with you any more."  Idenov said he replied, "Fine," 
 immediately returned to his office, wrote his letter of 
 resignation, and packed up his personal files and photos of 
 his family."  He said Mynbayev immediately called and asked, 
 "My dear friend, what are you doing?!"  Idenov said he was 
 fed up and was going to the Middle East to work -- "I want 
 out of here!"  PM Masimov called and said, "Nazarbayev wants 
 to know how you're doing.  He'd really like to see you when 
 you have time."  Idenov, who said he'd been trying to see the 
 President for months but had been blocked by the "Big Four," 
 went to see the President and told him, "Kabyldin says 
 Kulibayev doesn't want to work with me any more."  Idenov 
 said the President told him to calm down:  "It's probably 
 just evil gossip.  I'll have Karim (Masimov) talk to Timur 
 (Kulibayev).  Then Idenov went to Masimov and told him, "OK, 
 I'll stay, but how do I deal with this?"  Masimov said he'd 
 talk to both Kabyldin and Kulibayev. 
  
 5.  (S) Soon, intermediaries arranged an Idenov-Kulibayev 
 meeting.  Idenov said they both pretended to ignore the core 
 problem -- Kulibayev's, he alleged, avarice for large bribes. 
  Idenov averred he told Kulibayev, "Please watch your image 
 and reputation.  You have a real opportunity to improve your 
 own image and the image of the nation."  Idenov said 
 Kulibayev was "like a Buddha with a Paris manicure," and both 
 understood life would continue.  Idenov said he believes he 
 has, so far, the president's protection.  "But the games 
 continue," he said.  Idenov alleged that both BG and Italy's 
 ENI are corrupt -- and Kulibayev is salivating to profit from 
 them -- but, so far, Idenov stands in the way.  "So long as 
 Nazarbayev says he wants Kashagan and Karachaganak developed 
 according to international standards, that's what I'll do." 
  
 6.  (SBU) (NOTE:  Fugitive former CEO of BTA bank, Mukhtar 
 Ablyazov, accused of embezzling over $1 billion, recently 
 leaked "documentary evidence" to the international media that 
 China's state companies have bribed Kulibayev over $100 
 million in recent months for oil deals.  END NOTE.) 
  
 7.  (S) The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting 
 are worse now than before.  Idenov paused, thought, and then 
 replied, "No, not really.  It's business as usual."  Idenov 
 brushed off a question if the current maneuverings are part 
 of a succession struggle.  "Of course not.  It's too early 
 for that.  As it's always been, it's about big money. 
 Capitalism -- you call it market economy -- means huge money. 
  Listen, almost everyone at the top is confused.  They're 
 confused by their Soviet mentality.  They're confused by the 
 corrupt excesses of capitalism.  'If Goldman Sachs executives 
 can make $50 million a year and then run America's economy in 
 Washington, what's so different about what we do?' they ask." 
  
 OTHER TIDBITS 
  
 8.  (S) MODEST WEALTH.  Idenov alleged that MEMR's Mynbayev 
 is among the richest in Kazakhstan but "flies under the 
 radar" because he is a relatively modest and very 
 hard-working technocrat.  His great wealth derives, in part, 
 from his former ownership of KazKommerzBank -- "But he never 
 flaunts it." 
  
 9.  (S) VULTURES.  Idenov alleged that GazProm and China 
 National Petroleum Company "continue to circle like 
 vultures," hoping that the Kashagan and Karachaganak 
 consortia will implode, and then they can pick up the pieces. 
  "Won't happen on my watch!" Idenov vowed. 
  
 10.  (C) HOW TO ORDER LAMB.  Idenov insisted the Ambassador 
 order a bottle of wine for their dinner but then never 
 touched his first glass.  Instead, he gulped three cans of 
 Coca-Cola while inhaling his food.  When both he and the 
 Ambassador ordered lamb chops, Idenov advised, "Well done, 
  
 ASTANA 00000072  003 OF 003 
  
  
 never rare -- this is Astana, not London!" 
  
 11.  (S) COMMENT:  Idenov is effusive, even theatrical, by 
 nature.  When he trusts, he spills his heart.  Of course, 
 there's no doubt he also spins his own narrative, as we all 
 do.  And so, this dinner is simply a snapshot -- but, we 
 would judge, a relatively accurate glimpse of one version of 
 current reality.  The significant point is that Nazarbayev is 
 standing with Idenov, not Kulibayev, to maintain 
 international standards to develop the massive Kashagan and 
 Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects.  END COMMENT. 
 HOAGLAND