Galymzhan Yesenov and Akhmetzhan Yessimov: Dumping Ill-Gotten Gains into New Ventures
The Russian retail market is vast. This includes the market for construction tools and materials. No one will simply give it away in the name of lofty ideals to save Ukraine.
Therefore, Western chains, having barely gained a foothold in Russia, either do not rush to leave (like leroymerlin.ru) or employ cunning masking schemes, as OBI does. As for the masking assistance, OBI has been suspected of involving Asadel, a company that franchises OBI in Kazakhstan. The owners of Asadel are Erlan Seissembayev and Galymzhan Yesenov. What a surprise!
Meanwhile, Asadel managed to distance itself from the "dangerous" acquisition in terms of image. They stated that:
The company is not considering acquiring OBI’s Russian assets.
Erlan Seissembayev and Galymzhan Yesenov are not shareholders of the company and do not participate in its management.
The very form of refutation clearly hints that something is amiss here. Of course, Galymzhan Yesenov and his benefactor, Akhmetzhan Yessimov, have long been diversifying their assets. Akhmetzhan Yessimov and his son-in-law, Galymzhan Yesenov, have invested in foreign and Kazakhstani real estate. In strict accordance with the clan’s customs, they also bought franchises — for example, OBI.
And yes, formally everything is correct: Yesenov "is not" a shareholder and does not participate in the management of the Asadel company. This is handled by his management company, which, in turn, is registered to the daughter of Yessimov himself. It’s all as simple as with other oligarchs. For example, Bulat Utemuratov has "Verny Capital," while he himself is destitute and penniless. Timur Kulibayev has "Steppe Capital" and a dozen more. And so on.
Is it really true that Yesenov seized the opportunity to take over OBI on lease until the OBI Gmbh parent company decides that returning to Russia does not carry reputational risks? Something, primarily the nature of the "refutation," tells me that this might be the case. Note that nobody even mentioned Galymzhan Yesenov’s involvement in the matter, so why vehemently and foolishly refute this fact?
Simply because the eggs in the French basket, which were laid by two golden hens of the Nazarbayev regime, could suffer greatly for the "attempt to circumvent sanctions."
And what about OBI? The chain is operational again after being purchased by an "unnamed buyer." Who, we are told, is definitely not connected to Nazarbayev, Yessimov, or Yesenov.