Former associates Rakhat Aliyev And Dariga Nazarbayeva continue to operate their offshore network from the Mediterranean coast
In March 2011, in the center of Moscow, Russian security forces, at the request of their Kazakh colleagues, detained the former head of the Sugar Center group of companies Igor Egarmin. In Kazakhstan, the top manager of the sugar monopoly Rakhat Aliyev was suspected of creating an organized criminal group and money laundering. In addition to managing the family sugar business (at its peak, the Nazarbayeva-Aliyev group controlled 90% of the sugar market in Kazakhstan), Yegarmin also led their media empire, which included ORT-Kazakhstan, NTK TV channels, Europe Plus-Kazakhstan radio station and other media assets. However, soon the case was closed in Kazakhstan, and Yegarmin was released. In Russia, he successfully married the sister of the mayor of Lipetsk, Evgenia Uvarkina, and is developing the business of another family.
Then several people were involved in the Egarmin case. Among them is a Kazakhstani, one of the leaders of JSC “Kant” (part of Aliyev’s sugar group) Vadim Poklonov. According to the same articles, he was also put on the international wanted list by Kazakh investigators and he was even detained (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1nnFlG81PE) in Georgia, where he spent several months in a deportation prison.
By that time, the Kazakh authorities had been unsuccessfully trying for several years to get the Austrian authorities to extradite Rakhat Aliyev himself.
And his ex-wife finally got control of his business empire. The role of Poklonov, as well as his wife Victoria (in addition to her husband’s last name, she uses the names of Vyrodova and Polyakova) was to manage a network of offshore companies, mostly registered in Malta, the British Virgin Islands and Panama. Through the Maltese Agricrop Trading Limited (there is also a branch in Almaty, also managed by a former employee of the Sugar Center) and JW Services Limited, the Poklonovs managed and manage dozens of companies in non-transparent jurisdictions. Some of them can be used to withdraw capital from Kazakhstan.
Thus, one of these companies, Vostok Media Exchange Ltd, was involved in the so-called “Azerbaijani Laundry” – a complex scheme of front companies in Malta and the UK, through which the ruling elite of Azerbaijan withdrew $ 2.5 billion over two years to bribe European officials, purchase luxury goods and, in fact, for the legalization of this money. Another company in the Poklonov chain, Asia Media Exchange Ltd, had a clone in the UK controlled by Viktoria Poklonova until it closed in 2018. Judging by the company’s statements, from 2007 to 2009, more than $ 3.9 million were driven through it alone. In recent years, before the liquidation, the company did not conduct any activity.
The Poklonovs manage the Maltese offshore network from their French residence, which is located in the very center of the Antibes Peninsula on the Cote d’Azur of France. They bought the estate at 110 Francis Meiland Boulevard in 2011 for €7.5 million, according to documents from the French commercial register. Two land plots with a total area of 46 acres, a two-story villa, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a sports ground and a guest house, are issued to the SCI Lou Pazou company, which is owned by Kazakhstani Victoria and Vadim (99 and 1% respectively). Victoria also has an apartment in Monaco in the residential complex Villas du Parc. In addition, the couple owns another apartment in the center of Moscow – in house number 11 in Skatertny Lane. Its area is 184 m², and the market value is 150 million rubles ($1.54 million).
There is an important detail in this story: despite the fact that the Poklonovs provide their Kazakh passports to both the British and French (for the last time in June 2023) registration authorities, back in 2011 they received passports of citizens of the Russian Federation. Agree, a very convenient option, especially when you have a whole network of offshore companies at your fingertips, with the help of which you can not only withdraw money from the former post-Soviet republics, but also, as a citizen of a neutral country, bypass the sanctions imposed on your second homeland because of the SVO in Ukraine.