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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Investors Decry Kazakhstan's Tax 'Tricks'

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Foreign investors asked the president of oil-rich Kazakhstan on Saturday to prevent rapid changes in legislation following several recent surprise shifts in tax and ownership policy.

"The international investment community does not like surprises. The most damaging changes are legislative ones that appear like a rabbit out of a magician's hat," said Peter Robertson, a ChevronTexaco vice president.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev rushed legislation through parliament last month that will allow the state to take a larger slice of proceeds from the oil sector when global prices are high.

Although the changes will only affect new contracts, the sudden policy shift unsettled foreign oil companies.

Kazakhstan is also planning to prevent foreign investors from holding more than 49 percent in telecom companies -- a move that could hit Finnish-Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera, which controls the biggest cellphone company.