History of Shoraz

By Guy Begg

Malta is becoming a place where criminals feel at ease even those who are wanted. Recently, the island nation was embroiled in a corruption scandal involving Rahat Shoraz, either a spy, or simply criminal, lurking on the comfortable shores from his Central Asian enemies. And finally it appeared a chance that this person will go to jail.


History of Shoraz is an example showing that in the governance all infectious diseases are transmitted through political means. And the disease of dirty hands - one of the first ones. Moreover, not only all ages are obedient for this insidious disease but also all states from wild Africa to civilized Europe.


Rahat Shoraz actually none other than Rakhat Aliyev, who took to wife a citizen of Austria, and her name in order to confuse the investigation. In fact, the man widely known as Rakhat Aliyev - a man who worked in the security services of one of the states - the fragments of the mighty Soviet Union, who held various government posts in the distant Kazakhstan. One of the last ones was the post of the ambassador of the Republic of Austria.


> Kazakhstan Map



Which wind has brought this man to the Maltese Islands? In order not to tire the reader I only say that the former ambassador is accused of various criminal offenses, including money laundering, arms trafficking, drugs, robbery and even murder. But most importantly is the fact that since 2007 he has enjoyed the patronage of the European justice actually with impunity for his numerous crimes. Aliyev has lived at first in Austria, then, when his persona began to attract too much attention to provoke the authorities and the public, he moved to Maltese Islands.


But, nevertheless, this figure still remains uncomfortable by continuing to serve reproachfully not only for corruption, but also for the incompetence toothless West Themis. The basic principle of justice was flouted - the inevitability of punishment.


Perhaps one of the reasons for this attitude to the bushranger is his transformation to democracies which coincided with the excitation of criminal case in his homeland. But whether the Europeans believe in the declared principles? Such transformations can mislead only very stupid or naive people. But I will not believe the fact that senior officials of Austria can have one of these features, do not try to persuade me.


But then, why Rakhat Aliyev remained immune for many years? What is that powerful defense, which gave a crack recently?


If you monitor carefully all adventures of fugitive in Europe, you cannot ignore this man is very generous manure with money of bureaucrats plant trees and what a rich harvest grows in the field of very trusting relationship.


Back, in 2007, when Aliyev fled Kazakhstan,  Austria’s authorities arrested him rashly. But then he was quickly released on bail of one million euros on his own recognizance ... Subsequently it didn’t stop him to whip away what we believe is worth a certain amount of cash. The most surprising is the fact how quickly the fugitive got an alien's passport in Austria.


Once in Vienna it became too crowded, Aliyev Shoraz settled in a quiet harbor on the Maltese shores, in the posh Santa Maria apartment in the exclusive area Mellieha. Again, he littered the money. The legalization of offender has cost a round sum. Journalists trying to figure out how the fugitive murderer granted a permanent residence permit, despite red flags of Interpol came to a disappointing conclusion. Yes, yes, the reason is the same disease of dirty hands. Aliyev, as a vector of this terrible disease has infected so many officers who risk to pay for it a career. All details of his naturalization in Malta became known from first hands. Everything became known by ex-diplomat’s lawyer Pio Valletta.I do not know what happened between the lawyer and his client, but admit the thought that Mr. Aliyev, has played in his favorite style,  did not fulfilled some gentlemen's agreements in some really ‘spicy’ case. The situation became clear, when the lawyer filed a complaint in court to pay him 1.5 million euros for his services to Aliyev in his move from Austria to Malta in 2010. Lawyer even invited former ministers of the Government of Malta Tonio Borg and Karma Mifsud Bonnici to the court as witnesses, so that they confirmed the difficulties encountered in solving this issue. The process of obtaining a residence permit was complicated by the fact that a criminal was wanted by Interpol.


The scandal broke out around the revelations of attorney. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta and a candidate for membership in the European Commission Tonia Borg was accused of receiving a bribe of 150,000 euros from Rakhat Aliyev. Particular interest of the European judicial authorities in this regard was given to the invoice for the above amount, which went to reconciliation of all the «formalities» as argues Mr. Valletta.


This was the main argument for getting residence permit for Aliyev, although the authorities were aware of the politically explosive nature of the case.


European Community stirred up seeing so blatant display of corruption. Elmar Brok, MEP from the German Christian Democrats demanded an explanation on these issues. Komisar of EU Vivant Reding also studied business Aliyev with Maltese authorities, advising them to seek support from Eurojust and Europol.


Arnold Cassola - Representative for European and International Affairs urged anyone who has evidence of the illegal actions of the former Kazakh diplomat Rakhat Aliyev, to present them at the disposal of the investigation.


The interest in this person was fueled also with statements of Kazakh opposition, which had a grudge against Aliyev. Former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin and two of his bodyguards tried to get the investigation of law enforcement agencies of Malta against Aliyev. In particular, the bodyguards of Kazhegeldin claim that they were tortured during interrogation in prison on the orders of Aliyev, who in 2000 was deputy chairman of the National Security Committee (similar to the KGB in Soviet times). There was even an appeal to the court of Malta with the complaint to inaction of local police.


Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was forced to respond somehow in this situation. After consultation with Prosecutor General of Malta, he said that the island state has no jurisdiction to investigate allegations of torture and crimes against humanity. This position is being challenged in the Supreme Court of the island state.


But it is also being actively considered one another issue that threatens Aliyev’s imprisonment. Analytical financial intelligence unit of Malta, acting on behalf of the Prosecutor General, managed to get information on money laundering of Aliyev.


The local press, which we must pay tribute to, from the first day asked questions in the case of Aliyev. And at this first time the authorities did not even want to admit the fact of his presence in Malta. Only after series of publications, it was stated that it is better to leave Rakhat Aliyev alone, since he is associated with the implementation of some of the projects that are currently being worked on. (I wonder what some projects?).


Aliyev in this situation simply raged from impotence. A year after the arrival in Malta, he has appealed to one of the most serious newspapers Malta Today asking to sell the edition, but got a flat refusal. After that, it was stated that the newspaper is funded by opponents of former diplomat.


And it is also in the style of Aliyev. If an independent newspaper, writes not what you need - then needs to got hold of.


How much money Aliyev is willing to waste just to clear himself in the face of the Europeans? But you cannot buy everything. There are also people with the principles and they are seriously interested in this person, creating an aura of evil around us. And a sure sign that the days are numbered for Aliyev is his frantic attempt to escape from Malta already to the U.S.


By the way, U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland warns to stay away from the conflict, as he believes that Aliyev is trying to manipulate the democratic community. This is also told by the newspaper «The New York Times» that Aliyev created lobby in the House of Representatives, and it cost him $ 3.7 million. Lobbyists criticize the Kazakh government, citing Aliyev as a victim of political repression. So clearly the fugitive is preparing the ground for legalization already in the United States. In case of success it would mean only one thing - it means projects which vaguely were hinted by the Maltese authorities were grounded under Aliyev with the help of State Department. But let's not jump to conclusions. In the end, there are not foolish people there, in Washington fools. And even if they were associated with Aliyev with common interest, they would not publicize the fact. After all, when anti-American sentiments are so widespread it would be better to Washington not to accept such a doubtful politicians.