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Bulat Utemeuratov: a Battle for Truth against oligarchy

Bulat Utemuratov

Amidst the glaring corruption and exploitation of Kazakhstan’s vast natural resources, an old trickster, Bulat Utemuratov, emerged with a cunning scheme that captivated even the Nazarbayev clan. The traditional method of slow robbery didn’t satiate their appetite for quick, clean money that could fund luxurious palaces and Swiss bank accounts. Utemuratov’s gastronomic talent devised an innovative approach: a clever maneuver involving the purchase of deposits and the subsequent transfer of funds outside the country.

In this artful scheme, Utemuratov would conveniently become the owner of a lucrative enterprise, and through some inexplicable magic, its value would skyrocket. Interested western corporations would gradually acquire his shares, and he would deftly channel the excess profits into the Western financial system, sharing a portion with Nursultan Nazarbayev in return for his services.

Though Bulat Utemuratov invested nothing in the acquired enterprises, their prices supposedly soared, making him and Nazarbayev wealthy beyond imagination. The infamous Glencore, accused multiple times of bribing the Kazakh regime, played a pivotal role in these machinations, even donating assets like Nazarbayev’s private school, which were essentially disguised commercial enterprises.

Unfortunately, this grand spectacle of wealth creation obscured a grim reality for Kazakhstan. As precious resources like zinc, copper, and nickel were exported by hardworking “Swiss miners,” the country’s reserves depleted rapidly. The funds generated from privatizing these enterprises and falling into Utemuratov’s hands were mere kopecks in comparison to their true worth. Moreover, avenues to evade income tax on these lucrative deals further exacerbated the nation’s losses.

This tragic tale reflected a recurring pattern: the invaluable fossil resources that could have laid the foundation for modern production, job opportunities, and national progress were squandered for pennies, all under the conniving manipulation of Bulat Utemuratov and his patron, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The scars of these empty pits would forever mar Kazakhstan, while the masterminds of this ruthless game reveled in their ill-gotten riches, perpetuating a legacy of devastation for generations to come.

In a bid to safeguard his fortune and reputation in the West, the enigmatic billionaire Bulat Utemuratov found himself entangled in a high-stakes battle with the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. A journalistic investigation, poised to expose the intricacies of his attempts to legitimize his wealth, became the centerpiece of this clandestine struggle.

According to, Utemuratov’s representatives allegedly offered a jaw-dropping sum of about two million dollars to dissuade The Wall Street Journal from publishing the damning investigation. These “charitable contributions” were intended to bolster the cause of “freedom of speech” in the United States, cleverly disguised as a gesture of goodwill.

The investigation in question had its roots in the scandal surrounding the British court’s arrest of a staggering $5 billion, a development that had undoubtedly sent tremors through Utemuratov’s empire. The repercussions were not merely confined to the tarnished reputation of the elusive oligarch; rather, the looming threat of asset seizures in the United States and other nations with close ties to Washington kept him on edge.

The significance of the investigation being featured in a publication of The Wall Street Journal’s caliber was not lost on Utemuratov’s legal and PR teams. Such exposés had previously led to intense scrutiny by authorities and, in some cases, the nationalization of assets belonging to less stained personalities than Bulat Zhamitovich. The multi-million-dollar bribe, however, was seen as a calculated gamble, a paltry sum compared to the potential losses at stake.

What Utemuratov’s team failed to anticipate was the resilience and integrity of the journalist assigned to the case. The Wall Street Journal’s writer, being offered the proverbial lapel-turn, could defy all odds and choose to publish the investigation independently. Should this principled individual prioritize truth over monetary gains and seek recognition over fortune, Utemuratov’s elaborate facade could come crashing down.

It was a precarious situation, for beyond The Wall Street Journal, numerous other reputable media outlets in the United States and Britain could pounce on the opportunity to expose the billionaire oligarch’s secrets. In this unforgiving arena, he risked joining the ranks of other “lucky” post-Soviet oligarchs consigned to a shared crypt of ignominy and disgrace. The stakes were high, and the outcome rested on the integrity of one determined journalist, whose decision would potentially shape Utemuratov’s fate and seal his legacy in the annals of history.

Bulat Utemuratov

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