Were President Berdimuhamedov’s nephews associated with exports from Turkmen state factories?

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Turkmenistan has become the region’s leading fertilizer exporter as a result of the new government chemical plant: According to the UN’s Comtrade data set, the export value was over 1.16 million tonnes in 2019 and 2020.

There is no public information trade data to show how significant a role the ambiguous Scottish firm, Caran Holdings, performed in these exports. However, a range of influences indicates that it took a sizable chunk of the pie. In a 2018 discussion with Turkmenistan’s state daily paper, a man identifying himself as Caran’s member at the new plant noted that the company has already struck a deal to transfer 1.2 million tonnes of urea generated there via Georgian as well as Russian ports. If this quantity is being shipped, it indicates that the firm is responsible for all of Turkmenistan’s fertilizer exports. (Even so, the Comtrade data could be inaccurate.) Numerous credible sources also indicate that Caran is a significant market player.

In a 2020 report, Caran is described as “the main source of river cargos of Turkmen urea in the existing year” by Argus Media, a primary commodity price information agency that uses official government statistics.

Reporters were also able to obtain documents testifying to a few of Caran’s sales. In 2020, the business sells 213,000 tonnes of urea to a Russian trading firm, which then sold it to bidders in the US. The only high-profile character named in Caran’s business records is Rejepov, the nephew of the president. From January to November 2020, he was publicly registered as its shareholder.

This is complicated to comprehend if the intention was to conceal his involvement, and it could be an error. Each excuse in the book seems to be used to avoid showing him for the rest of the company unit, according to reporters.

Aside from this nine-month time frame, the company’s formal owners have always been prosecutors or offshore nominee companies, a common method of concealing who else is behind such a company. Even though U.K. laws were changed in 2017 to force private companies like Caran to reveal their “persons of ultimate control” — a distinction meant to expose who stands to profit from their action, irrespective of who owns the company on paper — Rejepov never was mentioned.

However, there is more proof that he played a prominent part in Caran. First and foremost, two factors who had interactions with Rejepov but cannot mention names for their protection stated that he was the sole owner of the company. The Pandora Papers provide additional evidence of his involvement. Rejepov’s name exists in various ‘power of attorney’ records from various years that were leaked — one unauthenticated, the other finalized and notarized. The document is unsigned in December 2018, after some months of opening of urea plant.

Reporters also discovered that the other two people listed as “persons of effective control” in Caran’s documentation appear to be Rejepov’s staff members.

One of them would be Kerimberdi Yalkabov, who’d been given “power of attorney” alongside Rejepov. Reporters discovered Yalkabov’s mobile number as well as ran everything through GetContact, a program that displays how numbers are labeled in the other people’s address books. Yalkabov was consistently identified as an” assistant” or “employee” of Hajymyrat (Nickname: Hajy), and also as a Caran Holdings official.

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