In Bishkek, in the building of the former Chinese restaurant “Golden Dragon”, the first casino after the lifting of the ban on gambling was opened without much noise. It has been working for two weeks now. The fact that the company that bought the first gambling license is connected with a close friend of the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov has already been briefly reported by journalists. “Kloop” tells how exactly they are connected.
Gambling has been banned in Kyrgyzstan since 2012. And last summer its with a scandal canceled. But about the first issued license to open a casino became known only this May. It was bought for 84 million soms by the young company Grand Casino.
Its back in November 2022 registered in the Ministry of Justice, the head and founder Abdymanapov Adilet Abdymanapovich. There was no information about his entrepreneurial activity in open sources until last year. But now he works for Arzybek Burkanov, a close friend of President Sadyr Japarov.
Mysterious young multimillionaire
Arzybek Burkanov is a famous and difficult person. He was a member of parliament, acted as governor of the Batken region, was a confidant of Sadyr Japarov in the presidential elections and an adviser to the prime minister. According to parliamentarian Akaev, they go to Burkanov to “punch” personnel decisions. The company associated with him was a sponsor of the presidential election fund.
Sputnik.kg, 02/12/2021, “Burkanov Arzybek Orozmatovich – biography”: Arzybek Burkanov was born on January 6, 1968 in the village of Batken, Batken region. Has a higher education, served in the army.
1995–1997 — director of the Omat enterprise;
1998–2000 — General Director of LLC Lifting-Asia LTD;
2000–2002 — director of Thesaurus LLC;
2003–2004 — director of Rusopttorg LLC;
2005 – Deputy of the Zhogorku Kenesh of the third convocation;
2007 – Deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh of the fourth convocation (from the Ak Zhol party), Chairman of the Committee on the Fuel and Energy Complex and Water Resources;
2011-2012 – Acting Governor of the Batken region.
In 2015, he became co-chairman of the political party “Kyrgyzstan”.
In 2021, in an interview with the media, President Sadyr Japarov mentioned his name, commenting on the information that Burkanov was solving certain personnel issues. According to the head of state, Burkanov did not bring a single cadre to power, but only carried out his instructions. Zhaparov said that he knows him well, since they were deputies at the same time. The president also mentioned the name of Burkanov, commenting on the situation with the muftiate – he noted that he had sent his adviser to listen to the appeal of the ulema. — Inset K.ru
Kloop.kg, 05.05.2023, “Arzybek Burkanov dismissed as adviser to the Prime Minister”: The press service of the government reportedthat Arzybek Burkanov was dismissed from the post of adviser to the Prime Minister. On May 4, the order was signed by the head of government, Ulukbek Maripov. […] Arzybek Burkanov – ex-deputy of the Zhogorku Kenesh of the III convocation from Bakiev’s Ak Zhol party and close friend President Sadyr Japarov. Deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh Zhanar Akaev in his interview at the beginning of April 2021, he said that Burkanov has a huge influence in the country.
“Burkanov and Gaipkulov are the separate most influential group of Zhaparov’s associates. Everyone who wears a resume runs to them. Now, if you go to the Government House, Burkanov’s reception will have more people than the Prime Minister. If we compare where there are more officials going to the polls with folders and resumes, then we can understand who decides all the issues in Kyrgyzstan,” he said.
*Iskander Gaipkulov is the Head of the Department of Strategic Development Policy, Economics and Finance of the President’s Office.
Also Burkanov was tied with a company that contributed 5 million soms to Zhaparov’s election campaign. Burkanov has a history of relationships with crime boss Kamchy Kolbaev – back in 2013, he said that he had known him for six years. Previously between them there was a conflict, when Burkanov and other businessmen turned to Kolbaev, as an “elder”, with a request to resolve their money dispute. Also Burkanov was witness in the case of Kamchy Kolbaev in 2013, related to real estate. Sadyr Japarov was indirectly mentioned in the same case. — Inset K.ru
Kloop.kg, 05/04/2023, “Mediahub”: The company that bought the casino license is associated with Arzybek Burkanov”: In addition, a number of politicians called Arzybek Burkanov “advisor” or “assistant” to Sadyr Zhaparov, but officially in number of his advisers Burkanov is not. Burkanov in 2021 was for some time an adviser to Prime Minister Ulugbek Maripov. […]
Last July construction company “Eurasia-Stroy Service”, which, according to Temirov Live journalists, is associated with Burkanov, won a tender for the construction of an educational and medical complex of the KSMA in Batken. The tender was announced for 82 million soms. Capsule for the construction of a new facility laid down the president himself on June 28 during a trip to the Batken region. — Inset K.ru
Little is known about Adilet Abdymanapov, who became the first license holder in Kyrgyzstan to open a casino. The database of the tax service listed two people with that name. Mediahub noticed that both of them are not even 30 years old.
Wherein Gosfinnadzor reportedthat Grand Casino LLC bought a license for 84 million soms. And the company applying for the license according to the lawand many other costs. Where does a young man at this age get such money?
“Kloop” has repeatedly asked for comments from relatives and employees of Burkanov’s companies about the casino. But the answers were evasive. But, by a curious coincidence, changes occurred on the websites of government agencies and on the website of the casino itself after our calls. The tax database has been updated and now there is only one Adilet Abdymanapovich Abdymanapov, born in 1999.
The leadership of the Grand Casino company has also changed on the website of the Ministry of Justice. The head of the company is now listed as another person – Nurbek Sultanov. It can also be found in other companiesassociated with Burkanov. And Abdymanapov is still listed as the founder of the company. At the same time, there is no date for re-registration in the document of the Ministry of Justice.
“I don’t know anything, I’m busy now”
The Grand Casino company is registered in a residential building in the 12th microdistrict of Bishkek. According to the cadastral extract, this building was built by Burkanov’s company. After that, the premises in which the company was registered changed several owners, but eventually returned to the Burkanovs. Now it is owned by Mamanazar Burkanov, brother of Arzybek.
Their kinship was confirmed to Kloop by Arzybek’s cousin, Batken Mayor Imamnazar Burkanov. “I know that the [Маманазара Бурканова] there is a brick factory. Casino [он] opens or what it does, I don’t have any information,” the mayor said.
It is known from open sources that Mamanazar Burkanov in 2018 and 2020 was Deputy of the Batken city kenesh. Mamanazar has owned the Batken Brick Factory since 2015, but whether it brings any income is unknown: according to the declaration for 2018his income was 0 soms.
Kloop contacted Mamanazar Burkanov to find out what he had to do with the opening of the casino, and why the address of the Grand Casino company was registered to him. “I don’t know anything, I’m busy now, I can’t answer,” he said and hung up.
Confidence that knows no bounds
The Grand Casino company received a license to open a gambling business at the end of April 2023. But preparations for the opening began already a few months before.
In November 2022, the company registered with the Ministry of Justice. December registered a domain For site. In February, the company launched an Instagram account and enrollment has begun to the croupier school, where candidates were promised employment. March 2023 ads appeared on the recruitment of employees in the casino. In April, even before obtaining a license, for site Careerist.ru posted a vacancy for the position of HR manager at Grand Casino.
Big money was spent not only on the license and recruitment. In March Kaktus.media heard on the radio “Europe Plus” an advertisement about the recruitment of dealers in a new casino. By calling the number from the ad, the journalists learned that it would open in the building of the former Golden Dragon restaurant in Bishkek.
All this requires considerable expenses, which can only be recouped by a firm belief that the casino will be registered. Although the mass legislative conditions and the need to have a large reserve fund would certainly encourage applicants “from the outside” to refrain from investing until obtaining a license.
“There is no Burkanov, only foreigners”
The law allowing the operation of casinos in Kyrgyzstan was signed by President Sadyr Japarov on June 30, 2022. Earlier it with scandal adopted in parliamentand in several cities of the country rallies were held against opening a casino.
The ban on the activities of gambling establishments has been in force in the country since 2012. Then the initiator of the bill, deputy Bakytbek Jetigenov, said that the presence of casinos and slot machines harms the moral and mental state of people who are fond of gambling.
Now the authorities claim that the purpose of the law is “to attract additional resources to the state budget by creating favorable conditions for attracting investment.”
By law, citizens of Kyrgyzstan and foreigners under the age of 21 cannot be casino customers. Opponents of the document are skeptical about this and say that the authorities will not be able to enforce the law. Director of “Grand Casino” Nurbek Sultanov assures that the casino benefits the state.
“Our license, it turns out, is very expensive – 84 million soms. Just imagine: one pensioner, for example, receives 20 thousand soms. 50 people [получающих пенсию] is one million soms. 84 million is what a tangible contribution to the budget! What’s wrong with that, I don’t know. I don’t see anything wrong. Literally one of these days [… “Гранд Казино”] has not yet begun to work, but paid 7 million soms in taxes,” he reasoned in an interview with Kloop on May 22.
The director strongly denies Burkanov’s involvement in the work of the casino.
“Arzybek Burkanov no relation [к «Гранд Казино»] does not have,” Sultanov said. — [Привлекал он или не привлекал] investors, I don’t know. At the moment, it has nothing to do with it, there are purely foreigners. […] You probably studied the documents? Does Burkanov appear anywhere there? No. Maybe it has something to do with attracting foreign investors, but it has nothing to do with the activities of the company and the casino.”
Previously, one of Burkanov’s employees conversation with journalists of “Mediahub” also talked about foreign investors. “Indian investors are behind this,” he said.