Viktor Khrapunov [72] achieved every goal the true oligarch may ever set. He succeeded in communist party career, adapted to the Independence era, served as minister, mayor and governor, stolen a gargantuan amount of the state funds and fled to the West in a plane loaded with precious belongings. He is one of the richest men in Switzerland with estimated fortune of 300 to 400 million Swiss francs. To put a cherry on top: he is one of the self-proclaimed leaders of the ‘opposition’. Every wish is fulfilled by now.

Khrapunov case is a complicated matter. He is prosecuted in Kazakhstan for money laundering, embezzlement, abuse of office, fraud and the creation of an organized crime group. He and his family members are put on trial or are subjects of criminal investigation, with mixed outcomes in UK, Switzerland, US and other countries. Even the shortest description of the processes against him, either won, lost, in progress or delayed, will be overwhelmingly out of proportion of the article. Thankfully there is much simpler way to approach the person.

Viktor Khrapunov was a statesmen and politically exposed person. He was part of the ruling elite of Kazakhstan. He never ran a for-profit company and everything he earned is supposed to be a statesman salary. There is no need to investigate every cent to come to conclusion: he brought to Switzerland the fortune he wasn’t supposed to earn in his home country. Everything above the limit of salary was simply stolen, taken as a bribe, extorted or embezzled. That’s what ‘unexplained wealth’ is. We don’t need to know its criminal origin, we just need to know that there are no legal way to explain the wealth. Right?

Sadly, Viktor Khrapunov landed in Switzerland before the modern banking rules on money laundering came into effect. KYC and PEP regulations were not enforced. Maybe it is even humane to leave the old man to rest at the Geneva lake shores. After all, he worked so hard to get everything done right. Future Kazakhstan oligarchs should have their fairytale too!

But that’s well enough for the hospitality. New generation of Khrapunov extended family should not become the part of the Swiss politics. Sadly it is already not the case for Ilyas Khrapunov. He managed to get to the Christian Democratic People’s Party as a honorary member. What kind of honor has Ilyas Khrapunov has shown to the party remains a mystery.

About the author: Louise Roth

Louise Roth is the youngest member of WeeklyNewsReview team. Despite the young age Louise is interested in serious topics. Her main interests and education is all about economics and politics. But in our team she is the most productive do-it-all member, so she has to write on a variety of topics.

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