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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nazarbayev's Relative Declares His Interests

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Rakhat Aliyev, the powerful son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said he owned 10 percent of major international sugar merchant Sucden, as well as various other business interests in the oil-rich country.

Aliyev, married to Nazarbayev's eldest daughter, Dariga, recently has come under a barrage of criticism from the Central Asian state's opposition accusing him and the president's family of excessive involvement in business.

"This is obviously nonsense," Aliyev, who rarely comments to the foreign media, said late Wednesday in written answers to questions.

"This is an open secret that opposition politicians and their sponsors have accumulated in their hands incomparably larger commercial, media and other assets."

Aliyev, 44, who only occasionally comments via the media in which he has stakes, said the opposition's allegations were spread by "those who once had problems with the law due to tax-dodging or corruption" when he worked in state bodies. He held top posts in the tax police and security in 1996-2002.

"Before I entered public service, I was involved in the sugar business. I own a number of sugar refineries and have 10 percent of the shares in the large international sugar trader Sucden," he said without elaborating. Aliyev said that besides sugar he also held "media and financial assets which I have handed over to lawyers to manage."

He said the media assets partly owned by him and his wife Dariga included Kazakhstan's main television channel, Khabar, which is 50 percent state-owned; the private channel KTK; the Karavan, a popular weekly paper; and information agency Kazakhstan Today.