Escaped Mayor of Almaty Lives in Switzerland

By Eric Diehn

More often lately the characters of publications and TV-programs of the European press have been the natives from Asia. And these are not worldwide famous scientists, or actors of arts and culture, as we would like them to be. More often public tribune is occupied by personalities, talking about their complicated interrelations with authorities in their motherlands. Instead of studying culture of other people more often we go deep into dirty laundry of run-away criminals, flowing to us from the whole world. And then we talk about crisis of multiculturalism…


One of the last examples is the address in the Mass Media of the couple Khrapunovy, natives of Central Asia, and to be precise, of remote Kazakhstan. The head of the family is Victor Khrapunov who represents himself as a democrat, politician, who was forced to escape from the motherland, rescuing from pursue of local authorities.


Victor Khrapunov left Kazakhstan by providing a fake disease certificate. This is the version of the reason for rapid immigration of the ex-Akim of Almaty. In one of the interviews he himself admitted: “… I wrote a corresponding claim, attached medical report and recommendations of doctors. Afterwards a personal meeting with Nursultan Nazarbayev was held, during which he said, for me not to worry about my future, and promised new appointment for the post and allowed to go abroad for three months. As I have already said, we packed our things in a hurry, loaded them and flew away…”


Thus, Khrapunov with the use of turned-out-to-be-fake certificate from doctors misleads his President and leaves the country promising to get back.


At freighted airplane Victor Khrapunov evacuated a few tons of possessions. It looked more like escape. And that moment there were no blames towards the ex-Akim from law-enforcement bodies.


It was later when already ex-Mayor of Almaty began to be suspected in illegal sale of public lands within the period of 2002-2003. According to the investigation information, from 2003 till 2007 the family of Khrapunovs transferred to foreign accounts in Switzerland and in offshore zones more than 48 million USD and 7.7 million EURO. At the moment the son of the former Mayor is the founder and Head of about dozen of companies in Switzerland.


The criminal case on lands sale appeared to involve some British company. According to the version of tax bodies, the Almaty Akimate illegally issued and provided in favor of British company “Delamore & Owl Group of Companies” debt bonds,  promissory notes for amount about 15 million USD. Later in favor of foreign bank – holder of the notes, the Akimate of Almaty by the rule of Mr. Khrapunov paid almost 9 million USD...


International Organization of Criminal Police (Interpol) searches for 31 citizens of Kazakhstan, as fixes the official web-site of the organization.


The oldest one turned out to be the former Almaty Mayor, 64 years old ex- Emergency Minister of Kazakhstan Victor Khrapunov. Against him they have initiated and investigated 20 criminal cases. Among them: “power abuse”, “appropriation or devastation of other’s property in a big scale”, “financing of organized criminal group activity, transnational criminal organization, and gathering, storage, distribution of property, development of financing channels”, “fraud” and others.


As political personality Khrapunov has never revealed himself for the whole his career. He was an ordinary gray official, like hundreds of others. The hero of publications himself in multiple interviews dwelled on that he was working in a tight bunch with authorities, perfectly performed all orders, even if he didn’t like those. I.e. he was just an obedient performer. Even being the Minister of Energy and taking the post of Mayor of the biggest city of Kazakhstan Almaty, Khrapunov didn’t reveal political ambitions. His activity at state service, if it was clouded with scandals, then as a rule they were of corruption character. By this, the former official was the main actor. That is why Khrapunov had no reasons to escape considering policy. Such “escape” went calmly. The ex Mayor freighted a huge airplane and transported almost all his property. Provided this politician was under the hood, would his fuss with moving remain unnoticed for secret services? No, the person was freely allowed from the country in 2007. And only many years later he suddenly “woke up”, having become a democrat-opposer, giving multiple interviews for Mass Media. Till now, he remained quiet in west, not revealing himself. Until criminal cases were initiated in the motherland.


Understanding that the subject of corruption is the most vulnerable for him in Europe, Khrapunov today attempts to prove everybody that multi-million fortune (and he is one of the richest men in Switzerland) was earned by his wife businesswoman Leyla Beketova. He also reminded that she opened the first private TV-channel in Kazakhstan. By the way, if the copyright was then such developed in this country, it would be the wife of Khrapunov to take the dock – pirate movies were daily rotated in air, including also the products of porno-industry.


But the main thing is about that the bunch “husband – official, wife – businesswoman” in many countries is already “half the battle”. An object lesson is the story of the ex-Mayor of Moscow Luzhkov. The same the former Mayor of Almaty Khrapunov created for his wife and growing son, also a businessman, the most favorable regime, which assured for the family an outstanding success within business. Several criminal cases, as it was learned, have been initiated exactly on the fact of illegal preferences of the Mayor to his family. His current pseudo-democratic revelations follow only one objective – to avoid criminal liability by all means. And at the official web-site of Interpol the photo of this person keep on hanging in the section “Wanted”.