Kyrgyz Crisis: Drug Mafia, Banker, Football, Spy – 2
by Ramtanu Maitra on 11 Jul 2010 0 Comment

The Case of Maksim Bakiyev

The case of Maksim Bakiyev, who was taken in by British authorities upon his arrival in Farnborough, England, on June 14, is a case in point. A duty officer for the Hampshire police force, which covers Farnborough, said the case was being dealt with by the UK Border Agency, which is part of the Home Office. Keneshbek Duyichebayev, chief of Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Council, said Maksim Bakiyev wanted to seek asylum in Britain and had flown there in a private aircraft.


In London, a spokesman for the British Home Office declined to comment, saying: For data protection reasons we cannot comment. The mouthpiece of the British establishment, The Times of London, reported on June 16 that Maksim Bakiyev had already asked for political asylum in Britain. According to the publication, Maksim Bakiyev Jr., who was arrested June 13 at the request of Interpol, had with him the necessary documents.


At a press conference in Bishkek on June 16, Azimbek Beknazarov, Deputy Chairman of the Provisional Government of Kyrgyzstan, coordinator of the Public Ministry and the courts, stated that Maksim Bakiyev would be either extradited or judge in Britain, but that in all likelihood he will be judged and will not be extradited. England never gives back people who arrive in its territory, Beknazarov pointed out.


Why does Britain want to protect Maksim Bakiyev?  Maxim Bakiyev is being investigated by the interim Kyrgyz government for possible corrupt business practices related to fuel supply contracts he handled for the US airbase there, a key site for military operations in Afghanistan. But most likely that is not why Britain wants to protect him.


Until he got himself a private plane and asylum documents, Maksim Bakiyev was believed to be hiding in Latvia, where his alleged business partner and banker Valery Belokon is based. Belokon’s representatives have previously referred to the 33-year-old son of the former Kyrgyz president as a part-owner of the Blackpool Football Club. However, Blackpool’s chairman, Karl Oyston, denied that Bakiyev had ever had a stake in the club. I’ve never met him, and he has no financial interest in the club whatsoever that I know of, said Oyston.


But Oyston’s denial could be a mere ruse. Belokon had a number of business interests in Kyrgyzstan during the reign of Maksim’s father and is also president of the Blackpool Football Club. He took over the club in 2006 and, according to the club website, has invested a substantial amount of money to buy players, which paid off when the club was promoted to the Premier League in May. With Valery Belokon, Maksim Bakiyev co-owns Maval Aktivi Ltd. Additionally, Bakiyev is the sole owner of Who Is Who, a company formerly owned by Belokon, and is also deputy chairman of the board of Kimmels Riga, a joint stock company. Maval Aktivi was registered in Latvia and engaged in implementing large business projects in the Baltics, Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and other countries. Belokon owns the Manas bank in Kyrgyzstan, but is also part of Amanbank and a major stakeholder in the financial empire of Maksim’s Asia Universal Bank.


Maksim’s business interests also cover the media. He controls the 5th channel, NTS, TRK Pyramid, as well as a cell phone company. Moreover, he reportedly controls virtually all profitable enterprises in Kyrgyzstan: a shell structure owns controlling stakes in Kant Cement and Slate Plant, a plant for the production of silicon crystal, a number of resorts on Lake Issyk-Kul, Champagne Wine Works, and JSC Kyrgyz Railways. Many of these enterprises were captured by raider attacks, when the idle law enforcement offices of the companies were taken over by storm troopers directed by Maksim. Later, he validated his ownership of the businesses through the courts.


Moreover, on the issue of ownership of the Blackpool Football Club, a report aired on Kyrgyz state television in October 2009 suggested that Maksim Bakiyev was indeed one of the owners of Blackpool Football Club, and in email communications with The Independent, a British news daily, last November, a PR professional acting on behalf of Bakiyev referred to him as “one of the owners of Blackpool Football Club in England.” It is also said that like most British football clubs, who pay high sums to its players and raise only a fraction of its revenue from the gate earnings, Blackpool Football Club also depends heavily on ‘unaccounted for’ money, which often translates to drug money.


In addition, there is a British interest in all this. It has been reported that the MI6 and the CIA took control in Latvia where, due to the post-Soviet chaos, they put their men in high places within the state. In Latvia, the disillusioned population speaks of the gang of foreigners described by journalist Rumania Ougartchinska in her last work, KGB et Cie, Assaut de l’Europe (2005). An example of that is the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (SAB). The office in charge of defending democracy is headed by Janis Kazocinu, who is actually a general in the British military. Kazocinu was appointed military attaché in Riga during the independence, and then deputy to the Chief of Staff. He acquired Latvian citizenship only when he was granted the appointment as deputy to the Chief of Staff.


The president of the Republic of Latvia, Professor Vaira Vike-Freiberga, plays an essential role in this mechanism. The family of this Canadian, who fled Latvia when the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler fell, was linked to the Nazi agents of NATO’s stay-behind networks through a clandestine association with the Diaspora: the Hawks of Daugava River. Meanwhile, the family of her husband, Imants Freibergs, was linked to the MI6 in Germany at the end of World War II.


On June 23, the Times of London reported that the ruling Conservative party under David Cameron, the present British premier, has included Latvia’s For Fatherland and Freedom Party (LNNK) as one of the 55 members of the European parliament. LNNK members, The Times noted, pay regular homage to the Waffen SS, an organ of Hitler’s Nazi Party.  


This alliance of the drug mafia, Maksim Bakiyev and the British would not have posed a mortal threat if Kyrgyzstan had built up its institutions. Like all the Central Asian nations, Kyrgyzstan, following its independence, was administered by the apparatchiks of the old Bolshevik regime. These apparatchiks were periodically removed by other apparatchiks through violence because the ruling leader, and his family, continued to loot and pillage the country. One characteristic of these leaders is that they refuse to set up the kind of institutions that would allow normal, democratic functioning of the government in power.


The Threat


There is a strong likelihood that both Russia and the United States would like to strengthen the Roza Otunbayeva government and see to it that the October elections take place peacefully. Both these nations, and China, have a lot of interest in Kyrgyzstan’s stability. As long as the United States remains dependent on the northern route that ends up at the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan to supply at least 25 percent of the logistics required by the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) fighting Afghan insurgents, Washington has a strong stake in keeping Kyrgyzstan stable and functional.


Russia has an even larger stake since the country is located in its neighbourhood and has also become a major center of Afghan opium, which passes through the Ferghana Valley into Russia. There is no doubt that Russia would like this opium flow to cease and would extend help liberally to any Bishkek government that would like to fight the dug mafia. It is likely that one of the reasons why Kurmanbek Bakiyev lost the support of the Russians was not his extension of the Manas airbase lease to the Americans, but because the Bakiyev family took control of the drug traffic that passes on to Russia, causing immense destruction to Russia’s working population and youth. In addition, the drug money has fattened the wallets of the secessionist groups committing violence in parts of Russia.


There have been reports that the Soros-funded Open Society Foundation had been active financially in pushing through the now-defunct Tulip Revolution. If the Open Society Foundation, which promotes growing of opium legally to help ease financial problems of the locals, has apparently lost out to the drug mafia that has taken over, one might also ask: Was the Tulip Revolution organized in the first place to hand over southern Kyrgyzstan to the drug mafia? If that was the intent, it surely has mostly succeeded.


The real problem centers round the Ferghana Valley, which was cut up into three pieces following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The valley is the most fertile land, a place where water is plentiful in a water-starved Central Asia. Its fragmentation gave rise to dissension among the three countries - Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. And this dissension has allowed foreign NGOs to move in. Drug legalization promoter George Soros’ Ferghana Valley project, for example, is at least a decade old. The Soros Foundation is involved in supporting and developing the socio-economic infrastructure of Osh and Jalalabad regions, where the violent riots took place in June. 


Maksim is a very ambitious person, Edil Baisalov, former chief of staff for the Kyrgyz interim government, told Shaun Walker, The Independent correspondent based in Moscow, by telephone from Bishkek on June 16. In a dirt-poor country, he wanted to squeeze out money to make himself into a local Abramovich (the American arms and drug dealer who operated in Washington during the George W. Bush presidency, influencing legislators in order to gain control of projects before he was put behind bars in 2007). Part of that dream, of course, was owning an English football team, Baisalov said. He has the resources and means to destroy the state of Kyrgyzstan. He is very dangerous and he has stolen millions of dollars from the people of Kyrgyzstan.


Under the circumstances, all insidious forces in these Central Asian countries continue to grow stronger. The presence of massive amounts of opium and heroin flowing in from Afghanistan has not only strengthened the drug mafia, the bankers and others associated with those cash-generating  criminals; it has strengthened the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists, represented by Hizb ut-Tahrir, who are headquartered in Britain.


According to Tajik scholars Muzaffar and Saodat Olimov, the rapid growth of a radically politicized Islam; the civil war in Tajikistan from 1992 to 1997; and the creation of an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in 1996 that strove to control the Ferghana Valley and initiated raids by Islamists in Kyrgyzstan in 1999 were all indicators of this shift. It is due to these developments that Miroslav Jenca, the UN special envoy in Bishkek, said recently that unless Kyrgyzstan was able to establish a functioning government and resolve its internal divisions, the influence of various extremist groups would spread rapidly.


Another analyst, Rageh Omaar, explains that the West should fear the Taliban and al-Qaeda’s hold on Pakistan because Osh and Jalalabad, the towns riven by fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, sit in the Ferghana Valley that has harboured an extremist movement, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), dedicated to the overthrow of the regime in neighbouring Uzbekistan. There are various extremist organizations. And, of course, in these circumstances they are finding a fertile ground to fulfill their plans, says Jenca.


Kadir Malikov, director of the Bishkek-based research group Religion Law and Politics and an expert on Islam in Central Asia, said recently: Bakiyev’s regime paid money to many volunteers, and some of them were from Afghanistan, connected with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. We have some signs that Islamic groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are paying attention to the situation in Kyrgyzstan and trying to interpret this situation for their own interests.


The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc. 

User Comments Post a Comment
Comments are free. However, comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. Readers may report abuse at
Post a Comment

Back to Top