Kazakh President Signs Law on Return of Illegally Acquired Assets

ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed on July 12 the law on returning to the state illegally withdrawn assets, the day after the Constitutional Court certified it to be consistent with the country’s Constitution, reported the Akorda press service.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Photo credit: Akorda.

In accordance with the provisions of the law, the return mechanisms will be applied to oligopolistic groups and entities involved in major corruption, who worked in collusion with persons with administrative and authority resources, using connections and influence.

The law applies to entities that are or were holding an authoritative public office, positions in state legal entities, the quasi-public sector, and those affiliated with these persons.

To apply the provisions of the law, a person must have assets worth over the threshold established by the law – a 13 million monthly calculation index (MCI), which is almost 45 billion tenge, or approximately $100 million.

An authorized body responsible for returning the assets will collect information from state bodies and other sources not prohibited by law to monitor and analyze data to identify the circle of persons involved in the scheme of illegal withdrawal of assets, the persons affiliated with them, the total amount of assets, evidence and circumstances of illegally acquired assets, their withdrawal from the country and other information.

If the authorized body has reasonable doubts about the legality of the acquired assets, for instance, a discrepancy between the value of assets and the amount of legal income or other sources of covering expenses for acquiring assets, it will submit proposals to the Commission on Asset Recovery to include such entities and their affiliates in the relevant Register.

The commission, which consists of members of Parliament, public figures, government members, and heads of state agencies, decides whether to include the persons in the Register, considers further measures to return assets taking into account social, political and economic stability, and makes recommendations on the assets of city-forming enterprises.

When the authorized body notifies persons that they have been included in the register, the persons can submit an asset declaration confirming the legality of its acquisition within one or three months. The declaration should indicate their income, assets, shares in the authorized capital of a legal entity, loans in Kazakhstan and abroad, among other information.

If a person cannot confirm the legality of the assets, they are recognized as assets of unexplained origin.

If there is a risk of an asset being withdrawn from the country or its alienation, the authorized body can apply to the court to take preliminary interim measures.

Illegally acquired assets can be returned voluntarily or compulsorily – based on judicial acts of Kazakhstan, foreign states or decisions of the competent authorities of foreign states. The compulsory return of assets is carried out by the authorized body applying to the court on a general basis in accordance with the rules of civil procedural legislation.

The terms may provide for the payment of money, the transfer of part or all of the assets, the reimbursement of the amounts of taxes lost, the damage caused to the state, and the amounts of excess income received by the person for the total period of asset ownership.

The assets returned to the state will be transferred to the Special State Fund, which will be used to finance social and economic projects.

Given that certain assets may be located abroad, the law envisages mechanisms of international legal cooperation to enforce court decisions, exchange information and other legal engagement.

Every year, the authorized body will prepare information on countering the illegal acquisition and withdrawal of assets, the systemic measures taken, including those aimed at eliminating the causes and terms conducive to the illegal acquisition and withdrawal of assets.

The law enters into force ten days after its publication, except for provisions related to the rights and obligations of citizens, which come into force 60 days after publication.

In addition to this law, President Tokayev also signed the law on amendments and additions to some legislative acts on the return of illegally acquired assets to the state, on amendments and additions to the Constitutional Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, on amendments and additions to the Code on Administrative Offenses, and on additions to the Tax Code.

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