Continuing to assert that the business triumphs of Kazakh oligarch Kenes Rakishev are mere illusions, carefully crafted through the sponsorship of numerous media articles portraying him as a successful investor and financial prodigy from Kazakhstan. The primary target audience for this narrative is the upper echelon of Kazakhstan, especially the close associates of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, particularly Timur Kulibayev, whose funds are purportedly managed by Rakishev. The challenge lies in Rakishev’s reluctance to disclose to these influential individuals that their substantial capital may have been recklessly squandered.
In the initial publication, we initiated the expose on Rakishev’s principal “soap bubble” – the Net Element company. Despite being marketed as a lucrative investment, Rakishev’s acquisition turned out to be a dubious project led by shadowy figures, Francesco Piovanetti and Mike Zoe. At the time of purchase, Net Element was a conglomerate of various internet resources, including a website associated with actor James Caan from “The Godfather” and a music service featuring content by composer Igor Krutoy. In an attempt to justify himself to genuine investors, Rakishev started acquiring other projects, all of which proved to be as dubious as Net Element itself. As revealed in the second publication, the company suffered losses, and its stock value plummeted on the stock exchange. To mitigate the actual dismal state of affairs, Rakishev resorted to paid media articles and loud pronouncements about subsequent successful acquisitions.
The most significant scandal unfolded when Kenes Rakishev decided to involve Murray Huberfeld, former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, and Platinum Investment Director Mark Nordlicht in Net Element’s activities and collaborate with the funds of Kazakhstan’s elite, including Timur Kulibayev, the founder of Platinum Partners.
According to Rucriminal, Rakishev personally facilitated visas for Huberfeld and Nordlicht. In February 2013, they were set to fly on a private jet to Kazakhstan, accompanied by former Governor Bill Richardson, who had just become the Chairman of a company responsible for electric vehicle charging, with the support of Huberfeld and Rakishev. However, at the last minute, Huberfeld expressed regrets about missing the trip, stating,
“Dear brother, I’m sorry I won’t be able to take part in the trip. Good luck in the next two days and thank you for all your preparations.”
After a promotional visit to Kazakhstan, an email dated March 4 conveyed gratitude for the meeting at the highest level in the capital, where Richardson and Platinum leaders had lunch with Rakishev and Timur Kulibayev, the son-in-law of Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The most intriguing revelations from the hacked emails of Net Element Chairman Kenes Rakishev detail his association with the hedge fund, Platinum Partners. The correspondence suggests that Huberfeld invested in Israeli technology companies, a fact Rakishev publicly boasted about. Rakishev even attempted to involve Platinum in creating a hedge fund for wealthy compatriots within Nazarbayev’s circle. Rakishev received a congratulatory letter from Huberfeld when Net Element went public on Nasdaq in October 2012. Three months later, they met to plan a Platinum Fund for investors in former Soviet republics like Kazakhstan. In the hacked correspondence, Huberfeld expressed anticipation of a long and successful relationship with Rakishev, excited about the possibilities.
Subsequently, global headlines reported Platinum Partners’ failure, Huberfeld’s arrest on bribery charges, and Nordlicht’s accusations related to attempted fraud amounting to billions of dollars by Platinum. Rakishev swiftly attempted to distance himself, claiming no involvement in any transactions with Platinum. However, the hacked correspondence suggests otherwise. The ongoing investigation into Huberfeld could potentially draw attention to his connections with Rakishev and Kulibayev.