20 May 2022, Friday, 14:06
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British MPs Urge to Freeze Assets of Nazarbayev's Family

British MPs Urge to Freeze Assets of Nazarbayev's Family

Huge mansions in central London and Surrey County belong to Kazakhstan's elite.

Ministers have called for a freeze on more than £600m of British assets belonging to Kazakhstan's ruling elite after the government opened fire on protesters in the streets, telegraph.co.uk reported.

Amid the violent unrest over rising energy prices and corruption, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered soldiers to "open fire to kill".

The violent reprisals have prompted calls for the government to consider sanctions on the property and other wealth held in Great Britain by senior regime figures and their allies.

Huge mansions in central London and Surrey County belong to the Kazakh elite. According to Transparency International, assets worth £370 million belong to the family of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP who chairs the foreign affairs committee, says the government should consider imposing sanctions on such assets.

"Those who violate the rights of their citizens should not be allowed to own wealth in the UK," he said. "We should make it clear to Kazakh elites that their actions will be scrutinised and their assets are at risk."

Conservative MP Andrew Merrison, a former foreign secretary, also urged ministers to be "much more decisive" in protecting pro-democracy forces in the country.

The properties accumulated by the Kazakh elites include a mansion in the "billionaires' street" in Hampstead, north London, owned by Dariga Nazarbayeva, a senior politician and daughter of Nazarbayev, and Nurali Aliyev, her son.

Meanwhile, Timur Kulibayev, a powerful gas oligarch married to Nazarbayev's other daughter, owns a huge mansion in Surrey. It is built on the site of Sunningwell Park, near Windsor Castle, which was bought from Prince Andrew for £15 million.

Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International UK, says the real British property portfolio of Kazakh figures may exceed £600m as it has been masked by a complex ownership structure.

Professor John Heathershaw, a Central Asia policy expert at the University of Exeter, said: "The test for the British government is ... whether it is open to imposing sanctions on members of the elite who may still have some influence in a country that treats us as an ally and where we stand as one of the top five trading partners."