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Kyrgyzstan: Controversy over sale of the national telecoms operator

Users of the leading Kyrgyz Internet forum “Diesel” have held their own investigation of the transaction, in which shares of the national operator Kyrgyztelecom were sold. According to them, the new owners are linked to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's son Maksim, recently appointed to a key economic position in the government.

The first news about sale of a large share of Kyrgyztelecom arrived on “Diesel” in the evening of February 04, before any of the mass media outlets.

“On February 02 they sold [Kyrgyztelecom], but all media keep silent”, user S.S.S.R. started the discussion.

The fact was approved more than 12 hours later. Minister of state property Tursun Turdumamatov called a press conference to inform that 78 per cent of shares of the national operator were sold to a consortium of four companies on a tender auction.

Two of the four are registered in Cyprus, one – in Kazakhstan. The fourth consortium member is “Ala-Too Keni”, the Kyrgyz joint stock company. “Diesel” people focused their attention on the latter.

Two hours after the minister's statement user maka posted information from the online database of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Justice. According to it, the owner of “Ala Too Keni” is Adai Rustemov.

Other users instantly pointed out that the same person is listed among the directors of JSC “MGN Capital”, which possesses the rights to manage assets of the Kyrgyz Republic's Development Fund.

Finally, the Development Fund is directly connected to the Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovations, the newly created state body, led by Maksim Bakiyev.

Interestingly, Russian magazine “Standard” wrote about M. Bakiyev's interest in privatization of Kyrgyztelecom back in 2009 – “Diesel” people quote the publication:

“According to the magazine, presidential son Maksim Bakiyev has got involved in the privatization process. The Kyrgyz sources of the “Standard” inform that M. Bakiyev wants to gain personal control over Kyrgyztelecom.

User Mogul feels “depressed” by the aggravation of clannish redistribution of state property. User joomla is afraid that “phones will be tapped by the Kazakh special services”, because Adai Rustemov is a Kazakh citizen.

User e-220 suggested to

“congratulate Maksim Bakiyev on the recent purchases on behalf of the people. He knows how to use the Russian government's credit line*”.

*

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