Kazakhstan Arrests Former Deputy Energy Minister Over Gas Price Increase

Nursultan, Jan 15 (EFE) .- The Kazakh authorities today arrested the former Deputy Minister of Energy, Zhumbay Karagáev, for the increase in the price of liquefied gas that caused the unrest in the country, while they separated from national energy companies two sons-in-law of the the nation’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Financial Supervisory Agency of Kazakhstan said in a statement that the investigation team of the department of the western region of Mangistau, where the protests that soon turned into riots originated, arrested Karagaev, heads of e-commerce platforms and others. persons. They did so because of his “involvement in the unjustified increase in prices of liquefied petroleum gas in the Mangistau region.” The protests broke out on January 2 because in early January the price of liquefied gas, used in many vehicles in the country as a cheap alternative to gasoline, doubled when the government stopped controlling its prices. Although the president of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev, returned on the 5th to regulate the price for a period of 180 days, the demonstrations had already turned violent, fueled by social discontent with corruption and the country’s elite, in which the Nazarbayev family has great influence and vast economic interests. The protests were suppressed by force in an “anti-terrorist” operation with a balance of at least 164 dead and more than 10,000 arrested. Nur-Sultan has claimed that he prevented a coup attempt by “armed bandits” and “international terrorists”, although he has not yet presented evidence of this. “For businessmen and in general in society, there are many questions about the activities of a company called Operadora ROP”, whose founder is Nazarbayev’s youngest daughter, Aliya Nazarbayeva, he said, while considering that the waste company should pass at the hands of the state. This Saturday also the national gas company, QazaqGaz, rescinded the powers of Kairat Sharipbayev, husband of Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga, as chairman of the board of directors. Also, the national oil transport company, KazTransOil, ended the term of Dosanov Dimash, Aliya’s husband, as CEO. Oil production, gas production and oil transportation are concentrated in the hands of Nazarbayev’s three sons-in-law, since another son-in-law is president of Kazenergy, an association that brings together more than 80 major players in the oil business, the gas and energy.


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