PATOKH CHODIEV

PATOKH CHODIEV

22:42 10.05.2006

Patokh Chodiev (Russian: Фа́ттох Каюмович Шо́диевFáttoh Kayúmovich Shódiev; born 15 April 1953, in Jizzakh (Uzbek SSR), is a Belgian-Uzbek oligarch who with Alexander Mashkevich and Alijan Ibragimov, is part of the «Trio,» a group of Central Asian businessmen who made their fortune through deals in minerals, oil, gas, and banking in Kazakhstan. Chodiev is currently ranked #275 on the Forbes list of billionaires.

Biography

Patokh Chodiev was born in Uzbekistan. He studied international law and Japanese at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO), graduating with a doctorate in political science. Speaking Japanese fluently, he joined the diplomatic service specializing in Russian-Japanese commercial relations and subsequently lived in Tokyo for a few years.

In 1996, Chodiev created an international charitable organization, the Chodiev Foundation, to promote innovation, art and education in Eurasia and Southeast Asia.

In September 2017, the Chodiev Foundation registered a representative office in Uzbekistan, in order to provide humanitarian assistance and healthcare to orphanages in the country. Reports also stated that Chodiev plans to build several shopping malls as well as a metallurgical plant in Tashkent as part of an investment push into Uzbekistan.

On 27 June 1997 Patokh Chodiev acquired Belgian citizenship. This led to a debate in the media about how his naturalization was obtained, since Chodiev does not speak any of the three official languages of Belgium (Dutch, French or German) fluently. Furthermore, the Belgian State Security Service expressed concerns about Chodiev’s relations to other Russian businessmen, but eventually found «nothing to report.»

Patokh Chodiev was also accused of having received help in this matter from the mayor of Waterloo, Serge Kubla [fr]. His Belgian naturalization was finally the subject of an official inquiry in January 2017, about which the Belgian newspaper Le Soir wrote on 11 January 2017: “When Serge Kubla wrote to Claude Eerdekens on 16 May 1997, all the lights were already green for Chodiev: he had the support of the SPF Justice, the State Security Service, the Aliens Department, the Waterloo police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and therefore also that of the naturalization service.”On 8 March 2017, Serge Kubla assured “under oath» not to have intervened on Chodiev’s behalf. Chief investigator of the case, Jean-François Kayser, stated that “there is no evidence of Mr. Kubla’s physical intervention with Mr. Vandewalle”, referring to the Chief Commissioner of the Waterloo police.

A parliamentary commission of inquiry concluded unanimously on 30 April 2018 that Chodiev’s naturalization procedures had not been influenced by Serge Kubla. The commission also cleared Chodiev of any involvement in the passing of the penal transaction law.Chodiev’s lawyer has accused the commission of having been biased against Chodiev. However, through his lawyer, Chodiev said he is willing to drop a formal complaint against several commission members on the condition that he receive a letter from a representative of the Belgian authorities admitting that the commission had operated inappropriately, subjected Chodiev to “slander”, and acknowledging the negative impact of the investigation on Chodiev and his family.

In 1999, the energy company Tractebel lodged a complaint against two of its employees, accusing them of embezzling part of the $55 million in consulting fees paid by Tractebel to Patokh Chodiev and his two associates. Separate to this case, the three partners were under investigation in Belgium on suspicions of forgery and money laundering, but the Brussels public prosecutor dropped any proceedings on 17 June 2011, within the framework of the extension to the criminal transaction law. As such the three paid a lump sum settlement of 522,500 euros. A representative of the Brussels prosecutor’s office confirmed to the Financial Times in August 2011 that no legal case against Chodiev and his associates had been active since June that year and that the case was considered settled. According to the representative, no judgement had been made against Chodiev, Mashkevich and Ibragimov who “are therefore presumed innocent.»

Together with Alexander Mashkevich and Alijan Ibragimov, Chodiev runs various ventures in the minerals sector in Kazakhstan, Africa and Brazil. In 2007, their enterprise was floated on the London Stock Exchange and became part of the FTSE 100 in 2008. In 2009, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), one of the world’s leading natural resource companies, of which Chodiev is a major shareholder, generated a profit of $1.462 billion from a turnover of $3.8 billion. Based in London, ENRC exploited a number of mineral deposits in Kazakhstan and Africa after acquiring numerous mining operations in Eastern Europe and Africa. In November 2013, the company was renamed «Eurasian Resources Group» (ERG) and is registered in Luxembourg as a company specializing in natural resources. In 2017, ERG posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $2 billion, and received an improved credit rating by international rating agency Standard and Poor’s from B- to B on 29 June 2018, following a «positive outlook» for the metals market.

Patokh Chodiev was named among the 732 Belgians linked to offshore companies when the Panama Papers scandal broke in April 2016.

Forbes ranking of the richest people in the world

  • 2005 (first appearance in Forbes): nr. 620, $1 bil.
  • 2006: nr. 382, $2.0 bil.
  • 2007: nr. 538, $1.9 bil.
  • 2008: nr. 334, $3.3 bil.
  • 2009: nr. 601, $1.2 bil.
  • 2010: nr. 287, $3.3 bil.

Acquisition of Belgian citizenship

Chodiev acquired the Belgian citizenship on 27 June 1997 with help from the mayor of Waterloo, Serge Kubla (fr) (Mouvement Réformateur), of Czech origin and his closest neighbour, and later (1999-2004) Minister of Economy and Foreign Commerce in the regional Walloon Government. That naturalization was irregularly obtained as knowledge of at least one official language of Belgium (Dutch, French or German) was then compulsory to become a Belgian citizen, and Chodiev spoke none of them. Moreover, the Belgian State Security Service had sent beforehand a report to the local police informing it of the mafia connections of Chodiev.

Prosecution

In 1999, the company Tractebel lodged a complaint in Belgium against Chodiev and his associates. It considered them to have been allocated suspicious consultancy costs amounting to 55 million euros. They were prosecuted in 2011 for forgery and money laundering, but Chodiev benefited from a recent Belgian law allowing the conclusion of criminal transactions that allowed him to extinguish the criminal action for a payment of 22.5 million euros. Several French and Belgian media mentioned the intervention in the speedy voting of this law of Armand De Decker, both a lawyer hired by the Kazakh businessmen and a senator belonging to the same party as Serge Kubla.

Scandal of Panama Papers

Chodiev is quoted in the case of Panama Papers. According to the newspaper Le Soir, it would be linked to at least twenty-five offshore companies.

Two of his associates, Alexander Machkevitch and Alijan Ibragimov, are also covered by the case. All three had been involved in the case of the first and second «Kazakhgate». In 2011 they entered into a plea agreement (€ 23 million) with the Belgian court for abandoning prosecutions.

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