Turkmenistan has the most isolated authoritarian state in Central Asia. Berdymukhamedov has governed virtually uncontested ever since the death of the region’s first iron-fist ruler, Saparmurat Niyazov, who governed from 1991 to 2006.
The OCCRP report details how documents obtained through the Pandora Papers scandal link sales of organic manure fertilizers to nephews of Berdymuhamedov, Shamyrat, and Hajymurat Rejepov, a strategy that could have resulted in hundreds of millions of U.S dollars in state contracts.
Following an investigation of offshore records, the OCCRP disclosed on October 14 that the state’s petrochemical plants in Turkmenistan are trying to channel exports through obscure UK-based firms with ties to nephews of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The investigation was done in partnership with Turkmen. News and Gundogar.org revealed how an obscure Scottish corporation, Caran Holding company, is at the heart of mineral organic fertilizer sales produced at a huge state ammonia plant and urea (carbamide) in Garabogaz, which has been in operation for 3 years and was built with the support of a $1.16 billion debts from the Japanese International finance Corporation Cooperation.
Hajymyrat Rejepov, one of the absolutist president’s nephews, had also played a critical part in the Scottish firm. The people named as the firm’s beneficial owners have seemed to be Rejepov’s workers.
Delanore and Shamyrat Rejepov
One more UK company named Delanore is involved in contractual arrangements to sell petrochemical goods from a large state oil and gas industry in Turkmenistan, with his brother Shamyrat Rejepov playing a secret role.
In the meantime, both brothers have purchased 16 apartment buildings in Dubai, a venue for the wealthy and powerful.
The mainstream press investigation into Caran Holdings found that “though the directors of the company and supreme beneficiaries have modified on multiple occasions, a major person who played a shadowy, review indicated was Hajymyrat Rejepov, the President’s nephew.”
According to OCCRP, the leaked documents paint an ambivalent picture of the quintessential beneficiaries of the fertilizer as well as petroleum companies. “Their investor were offshore ‘beneficiaries’ whose purpose is to hide the identity of the true owners.” Whenever the law in the United Kingdom changed to involve the disclaimer of a company’s “persons of ultimate control,” a few little Turkmens were proclaimed at multiple moments. When OCCRP contacted them, those people were either unavailable or refused to comment.”
OCCRP and partners confirmed a separate scheme in May 2021 through which Hajymyrat Rejepov benefited from a remunerative state deal to import more food for Turkmenistan’s starving people.
The lifestyles of the well-connected brothers are very different from the lives of most Turkmens. Human rights activists rank the country as one of the most autocratic on the planet. President Berdimuhamedov has complete control over Turkmenistan’s political, social, and economic life, down to the layout of banknotes and trophies for show dogs.
Turkmenistan began publishing almost no official documents and has no press freedom, making it extremely difficult for reporters and civilized society to learn about what is going on inside the state. Shamyrat and Hajymyrat Rejepov, and also President Berdimuhamedov’s government, did not comment.