Kazakhstan

The secret Kazakh bung worrying Airbus

International— Investigation

A French judicial investigation into suspected corruption surrounding the sale to Kazakhstan of satellites made by aerospace giant EADS, now renamed Airbus Group, has discovered the trace of a mysterious payment of 8.8 million euros made by the group to an offshore company whose true owners are unknown, apparently even to Airbus. The investigation also centres on the sale to Kazakhstan by EADS of 45 helicopters, and the deepening scandal implicating Airbus in what has become dubbed “Kazakhgate” is joined by separate probes in France and Britain into the group’s alleged corrupt practices in past sales of its civil aircraft. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin report.

Judicial probe widens to French secret services' role in 'Kazakhgate' deal

International— Investigation

The financial crime branch of France’s public prosecution services has widened the remit of a judicial investigation into suspected corruption in a sale of French helicopters to Kazakhstan to include the suspected involvement of France’s intelligence services in a plan to protect a businessman close to the Kazakh president from prosecution in Belgium. The move follows revelations by Mediapart and Belgian daily Le Soir of evidence suggesting the intelligence services were manipulated by officials of the French presidency under Nicolas Sarkozy in order to seal the deal worth a total of 2 billion euros. Yann Philippin reports in collaboration with Mediapart's Belgian press partners in this investigation, Alain Lallemand (Le Soir), Thierry Denoël (Le Vif) and Mark Eeckhaut (De Standaard).

The hidden activities of the clan behind Doyen Sports

International— Investigation

One of the biggest investment funds in European football, Doyen Sports Investments, is controlled by a secretive Kazakh family who made their fortune in a chemicals plant and who hide their vast wealth in the British Virgin Islands. Tevfik Arif, who was for several years a business partner of US president-elect Donald Trump, is the ‘public face’ of the clan of four brothers who run the family’s business activities and who enjoy close links to several oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. In a series of further revelations from documents obtained from the Football Leaks platform by the journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), Yann Philippin lifts the lid on one of football’s best-kept secrets.

Trump's partnership with the Kazakh businessman he says he hardly knew

International— Investigation

Tevfik Arif is one of the key figures to feature in a series of revelations stemming from documents from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and obtained by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalistic collective, in which Mediapart is a partner. The Kazakh-Turkish businessman is one of four brothers behind the secretive Doyen Group, and built a property development company in the US largely thanks to his controversial partnership with president-elect Donald Trump, including the construction of the Trump SoHo building in New York. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin report on an association which Trump now claims he has difficulty in remembering.  

French court approves Kazakh tycoon's extradition

France— Link

Ruling by Cour de Cassation paves way for Mukhtar Ablyazov to be sent to Russia or Ukraine over claims he embezzled €6bn from BTA Bank.

How Sarkozy's former spy chief worked on behalf of Kazakhstan

France— Investigation

On Wednesday March 4th, France’s top appeal court ruled that billionaire Kazakh opposition politician and former banker Mukhtar Ablyazov could be extradited over an alleged six-billion-euro fraud. Meanwhile, behind the scenes in this complex affair, a mysterious website has revealed a mass of emails hacked from Kazakhstan leaders. They reveal that Bernard Squarcini, who was the head of France's domestic intelligence agency under President Nicolas Sarkozy, has worked as a consultant on behalf of the Kazakh authorities in relation to the Ablyazov affair. Talking to Mediapart, Squarcini admits the Kazakh government is a client of the firm he works for and that he has worked on the case, but denies claims that he tried to “infiltrate” Ablyazov's team of lawyers and supporters. Agathe Duparc reports on this murky affair.

François Hollande mocked for wearing Kazakh fur hat and coat in photo

France— Link

Social media comments likened president to Sacha Baron Cohen's character 'Borat', others said he loooked like head of 'communist France'.

Sarkozy entourage targeted in probe over France-Kazakhstan 'kickback' deals

France— Link

Investigation into alleged money laundering to examine 2 billion euro deals signed between countries when Sarkozy was president.

Kazakh opposition oligarch Ablyazov arrested in France

International— Link

Kazakh fugitive opposition oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, who is accused of embezzling billions of dollars, was arrested in a village near Cannes.