After reading my earlier posts about privatization opportunities in Kazakhstan and the deterrent effect of the FCPA on American investment in that country, and Kazakh listings in the U.S., a reader asked whether it is difficult to do business in Kazakhstan in an FCPA-compliant manner. Unfortunately, I have to say, yes, sometimes."
Entries in Nursultan Nazarbayev (8)
I witnessed an amazing era of development in Kazakhstan when I moved to Almaty in 1994 as a legal advisor on a USAID-sponsored legal reform project.
BOTA was the first foundation established to restitute assets associated with an FCPA prosecution to victims of corruption. What were its key lessons that could be relevant to future foundations established for the same purpose?
In 2005, former president Bill Clinton traveled to Kazakhstan to meet with its leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Clinton flew to Almaty with the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra on Giustra's private jet, the New York Times reported Thursday. Giustra was there to secure rights to Kazakhstan's rich uranium deposits.
BOTA had three programs, with its largest, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, briefly explained in the previous post. Funds from the Pictet and Cie bank account associated with James Giffen and President Nazarbayev were used in two other ways to help poor children and youth in Kazakhstan: via a NGO grants program, called the Social Service Program (SSP), and through a scholarship program known as the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
What were the motivations of the key actors responsible for the creation of BOTA Foundation -- the governments of the United States, Switzerland, and Kazakhstan? And what role did the World Bank play, as well as opposition politicians and civil society activists in Kazakhstan? Let's start where Giffen did business: Kazakhstan.
The story of BOTA's capital and creation starts with politics and oil in Kazakhstan, the last of the ex-Soviet republics to gain its independence in 1991. As well chronicled in Steve LeVine's definitive account of the era, The Oil and the Glory, during the 90s there was a scramble amongst Western interests to secure oil drilling rights in the Caspian Sea, which had some of the largest untapped reserves in the world.