Kazakh friend of Prince Andrew forced to resign from business lobby

Kazakh oligarch friend of Prince Andrew – who paid £3million over the asking price for the Duke’s Sunninghill estate – has been forced to resign from a leading business lobby in his country after public anger over corruption allegations

  • Timur Kulibayev, 55, is son-in-law of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev
  • Confirmed his resignation from the Atameken business lobby in a statement 
  • Kulibayev bought Prince Andrew’s Sunninghill Park home in 2007 for £15million
  • Its asking price was £12million and it had languished on the market for 5 years 
  • A Kazakh oligarch who paid £3million over the asking price for Prince Andrew‘s marital Sunninghill Park estate has been forced to resign as the head of a leading business lobby in his country after public anger over corruption allegations. 

    Timur Kulibayev, 55, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan‘s autocratic former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, confirmed his resignation from the Atameken business lobby in a statement.

    Protests over perceived corruption and energy hikes in Kazakhstan in recent days have left 225 people dead, including 19 law enforcement and military personnel, the authorities said on Saturday. 

    Prince Andrew continues to face questions over the sale of his home in Ascot, Berkshire, to Kulibayev in 2007 for £15 million – even though the asking price was £12million and it had languished on the market for five years. 

    The estate was gifted to the prince by his mother the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and they moved in to the new-build in 1990. 

    Andrew, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, has been accused of acting as a fixer in Kulibayev’s business deals and is a close friend of the tycoon’s Nazarbayev. 

    Today, MPs called for the National Crime Agency to investigate into the sale of the beleaguered duke’s home, with Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge telling The Sun: ‘In the last few years, dirty money has infected our entire politics.

    ‘Prince Andrew is one of too many people in the public sphere who kleptocrats try to woo for help in this country.’ 

    ‘I certainly think that Britain is helping Kazakhstan’s elite launder money out of the country.’

    It comes days after Prince Andrew was stripped of his royal titles and patronages by the Queen as he was ordered to fight sex accuser Virginia Roberts’ allegations as a ‘private citizen’.        

    Kazakh oligarch Timur Kulibayev, who paid £3million over the asking price for Prince Andrew’s marital Sunninghill Park estate, has been forced to resign as the head of a leading business lobby in his country after public anger over corruption allegations 

    Prince Andrew continues to face questions over the sale of his home in Ascot, Berkshire, to Kulibayev in 2007 for £15 million - even though the asking price was £12million and it had languished on the market for five years. The estate was gifted to the prince by his mother the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986. Pictured: Andrew and Ferguson at Royal Ascot in 2019

    Prince Andrew continues to face questions over the sale of his home in Ascot, Berkshire, to Kulibayev in 2007 for £15 million – even though the asking price was £12million and it had languished on the market for five years. The estate was gifted to the prince by his mother the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986. Pictured: Andrew and Ferguson at Royal Ascot in 2019

    Mr Kulibayev, 55, said in a statement posted on the Atameken lobby’s website: ‘From today, I decided to resign as the elected Chairman of the Presidium of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs ‘Atameken’.’ 

    Kulibayev is married to Dinara Kulibayeva, the middle daughter of Kazakhstan’s founding president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

    Much of the popular anger in the protests appeared directed at Nazarbayev, who ruled for more than a quarter-century before stepping down in 2019 and handing over power to a hand-picked loyalist.

    Nazarbayev has not been seen in public since the end of last year. 

    His successor, Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, last week for the first time openly criticised the former president, accusing his mentor of failing to share the vast national wealth with ordinary people.

    In another potential sign of the Nazarbayev family’s political decline, Tokayev’s office confirmed Monday that the octogenarian’s nephew Samat Abish had been dismissed from his post as first deputy chief of the national security committee.

    It had been announced during the unrest that Abish had been replaced, then that he was only on ‘annual leave’, until his firing was confirmed on Monday.

    While Abish was a high-ranking figure who operated in the shadows, Kulibayev was a prominent jet-setter whose reported relationships with figures such as Queen Elizabeth II’s second son Prince Andrew made him a regular feature in the foreign press.

    Then: Sunninghill House, on the edge of Windsor Great Park near to Ascot, which was sold by Prince Andrew in 2007

    Then: Sunninghill House, on the edge of Windsor Great Park near to Ascot, which was sold by Prince Andrew in 2007

    In 2015, Kulibayev razed Sunninghill Park - which had been compared to a Tesco superstore due to its ugly appearance - so that he could build a new home. Last year, images (above) showed how the home's sprawling ultra-modern replacement was nearing completion

    In 2015, Kulibayev razed Sunninghill Park – which had been compared to a Tesco superstore due to its ugly appearance – so that he could build a new home. Last year, images (above) showed how the home’s sprawling ultra-modern replacement was nearing completion 

    Along with Kulibayeva, Kulibayev controls the country’s largest commercial bank, Halyk, and is a powerful player in the oil and gas industry.

    He did not offer a reason for his resignation, but called on the lobby to follow the priorities outlined for business by Tokayev in his speech to lawmakers and officials last week.

    On Saturday, the sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna said that two other Nazarbayev in-laws had left their posts at the helm of national energy companies.

    Youngest daughter Aliya Nazarbayeva’s husband Dimash Dosanov and oldest daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva’s partner Kairat Sharipbayev formerly headed the national oil transporter KazTransOil and the national gas company QazaqGaz respectively.

    Separately last week, Nazarbayev ally and former national security chief Karim Masimov was arrested on coup-plotting charges along with two of his deputies, authorities said.

    Over 2,000 troops from the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation credited with stabilising the crisis began to withdraw from Kazakhstan on Thursday.

    In 2015, Kulibayev razed Sunninghill Park – which had been compared to a Tesco superstore due to its ugly appearance – so that he could build a new home. 

    Last year, images showed how the home’s sprawling ultra-modern replacement was nearing completion. 

    It boasts six en-suite bedrooms, sweeping glass balconies, French doors and a 25-metre swimming pool.

    The previous home had 12 bedrooms. Prince Andrew and his now former wife Sarah Ferguson moved in to the property in 1990. 

    After their divorce in 1996, the property was put on the market in 2002. 

    Andrew then moved to Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park two years later, while Sarah and the couple’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie stayed at Sunninghill until 2006.  

    Demolition work began in 2015 after bats that had been roosting in the roof were found a new home, and planning permission for a new property was granted

    Demolition work began in 2015 after bats that had been roosting in the roof were found a new home, and planning permission for a new property was granted