On 23rd October, Kazakhstan’s Anti-Corruption Service confirmed that the former Minister of Justice, Marat Beketayev, had been arrested on suspicion of “abuse of office.” Investigators allege that Beketayev “lobbied for the interests of an affiliated company through the conclusion of annual contracts for the provision of knowingly unnecessary services, which caused significant damage to the state.”

Beketayev served as Kazakhstan’s Minister of Justice from 2016 to 2022 and deputy Minister of Justice from 2007 – 2010. During this time, he oversaw a multijurisdictional strategy involving several foreign law firms designed to obstruct payment of the $500 million Tristangate Award.

In December 2022, the Stati Parties filed an application in New York requesting information from a US-based payments infrastructure company about Beketayev, former Prime Minister Karim Massimov, and Kairat Boranbayev. The application also included a request for information about Bolashak Consulting Group. This company provided legal services to the Ministry of Justice in relation to the Tristan Oil matter.

According to the application, “Beketayev used his position as Minister of Justice of Kazakhstan to engage in a series of coordinated harassment measures implemented through [Bolashak Consulting Group]”.

Commenting, Daniel Chapman, CEO of Argentem Creek Partners, said: 

“For a decade, Beketayev has directed a campaign of harassment and abuse to avoid payment of a fully confirmed, non-appealable award, all the while costing Kazakhstan hundreds of millions in unnecessary legal fees.

It is encouraging to see that anti-corruption investigators have finally detained an individual who has used state funds to undermine rule of law and caused considerable harm to Kazakhstan’s image as an investment destination. We hope that the Kazakh authorities will now adopt a significantly different position on the dispute.”