Bulat Utemuratov

Bulat Zhamituly Utemuratov (also called Bolat, Kazakh: Болат Жамитұлы Өтемұратов, Bolat Jamıtuly Ótemuratov; born 13 November 1957) is a Kazakhstani businessman, public figure, diplomat and philanthropist.

Bulat Utemuratov
Bulat Utemuratov

(1957-11-13) 13 November 1957 (age 64)
Spouse(s)Utemuratova (Baishuakova) Azhar Abzhamiyevna
WebsiteBulat Utemuratov on Twitter

In 1999, Utemuratov was a member of The Bureau of the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).[1]

Since 2007, Bulat Utemuratov has been the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.[2]

Bulat Utemuratov is a vice-president and a board member of the International Tennis Federation (since September, 2019).

Public and charity activityEdit

In the frame of his mandate of President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Bulat Utemuratov has developed various charity associations in relation with this sport for Kazakh youth. Upon his initiative, the "Team Kazakhstan" Tennis Academy was created specifically to train promising players of the national tennis team. Since 2007, he is the President of the Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan. He actively develops tennis and invested US$85 million in the establishing of country's national teams, development of children's tennis and construction of tennis infrastructure in all major cities of Kazakhstan.[3]

Since 2010, Kazakhstan is regularly ranked among the world's top tennis nations. From September 2015, Utemuratov has been a board member of the International Tennis Federation.[4] In 2017, the International Tennis Federation and Asian Tennis Federation awarded Bulat Utemuratov for transcendent merit in the development of tennis in the region.[5]

Systematic work is being done to train juniors and experienced athletes to participate in international tournaments. In total, Kazakhstan juniors won over 90 international tournaments, including various Grand Prix. The men's national team of Kazakhstan confidently keeps in the World group of the Davis Cup; in 2019 it entered the final stage of the world team tournament once again.[6]

The Team Kazakhstan Project deserves special attention, since it gives the chance to Kazakhstan athletes to consolidate themselves among the best players. This is a unique sports school created to form its own tennis reserve players in the national teams of the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup. In general, about 40 international tournaments of ITF, ITF futures, ITF Juniors, ATF and ATP Challenger are held annually in Kazakhstan.[7]

In September 2019, Bulat Utemuratov was re-elected as ITF Board member and appointed ITF Vice President. On the latter appointment ITF President David Haggerty said: ‘...successful business leader Bulat Utemuratov adding great knowledge from inside and outside the world of tennis....’.[8] In October, 2019 Kazakhstan Tennis Federation held a charity exhibition match with participation of world tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Novac Djokovic in Nur-Sultan.[9]

In February 2014 The Bulat Utemuratov Charity Foundation was created [10] with Bulat Utemuratov as a member of the Board of Trustees. The foundation's mission is to help Kazakhstan become a better place for people's life today and in the future by promoting health, education and culture development.

The projects supported by the foundation include:

  • program for children under 15 years of age with autism spectrum disorder and their families - eight centers for children with autism spectrum disorder were opened in eight cities of Kazakhstan: Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kyzylorda, Aktobe, Uralsk, Shymkent and Petropavlovsk;
  • joint initiatives with the Association of parents of disabled children;
  • Balameken project aimed at providing those most in need with accommodation - as part of the Balameken project, the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation built houses for 100 low-income families in Kyzylorda. The cost of project implementation made KZT 450 million.[11] In Arys, new homes for 100 families were built by the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation. The Foundation allocated KZT 850 million for this;[12]
  • support of Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation;
  • support of Red Crescent initiatives in Kazakhstan;
  • Burabike Fest - Burabike Fest has raised more than KZT 1 billion, that were spent on purchasing medical equipment for pediatric, maternity and rehabilitation hospitals;[13]
  • reconstruction of the Botanical Garden of Almaty [14] - in May, 2020 the President Tokayev visited the Botanical Garden after reconstruction which cost US$15 million.[15] The garden was opened for public on June 15, 2020.

In March 2020, the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation allocated KZT 200 million to combat COVID-19 in the cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty.[16] 94 thousand COVID-19 rapid testing kits were provided by the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation to the health departments of Nur-Sultan and Almaty.[17]

Bulat Utemuratov announced about his decision to allocate one million USD through Verny Capital Group of Companies to Birgemiz Relief Fund, created at the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.[18]

The Fund acquired two laboratory complexes for PCR tests for the detection of COVID-19 for US$4 million. The laboratory complexes will be installed in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, and they can be quickly relocated and deployed in other cities.[19]

In May 2020, the businessman allocated US$6 million for the construction of 150 new homes for flood-affected residents of the Makhtaaral district of Turkestan region.[20]

Since 2006, under Bulat Utemuratov's patronage, the Narxoz University is developing into a leading educational institution in the Central Asia region aimed at international higher education standards. The businessman investedUS $40 million to upgrade technical equipment, develop sport and social infrastructure, modernise educational process and attract international staff. There are scholarship programmes for talented students.

Another successful charity educational project in Kazakhstan is Haileybury Kazakhstan. The graduates of Haileybury Kazakhstan enter the best universities of the world.

Bulat Utemuratov actively supports culture and art. He is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fund for Ballet and National Dance Development and Support,[21] supports Fund of Kazakhstan musician Batyrkhan Shukenov,[22] finances the republican competition of wooden and brass wind instruments and scholarships for talented young students of the National Conservatory[23] named after Kurmangazy. Regular exhibitions of Kulanshi Center for Contemporary Art are held under his patronage at Forte Bank Kulanshi Art Space.[24] He is an honorary trustee of the Nazarbayev Fund.[25]


Bulat Utemuratov is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan.[26] His first large project was the development of the "ATF Bank" and its successful sale to UniCredit[27] (from 1995 until November 2007). During that time, the bank grew from a small financial institution to a large multi-regional and multi-product financial group with 160 branches. Unicredit acquired ATF Bank for $2.1 billion in 2007 and Utemuratov reportedly made $785 million from the sale.

Subsequent reports suggested that Utemuratov's stake in ATF had been larger than previously known and that he and family members made more than $1 billion from the sale.[28] The deal turned out to be a poor one for Unicredit and within a year of acquiring ATF, the Italian bank had written down the value by €500 million.[29] Unicredit sold ATF in 2013 for just $500 million.[30]

After the 2009 crisis, the following banks were created: Kassa Nova, the first microcredit bank in Kazakhstan and ForteBank, a business bank. In May 2014, Samruk-Kazyna SWF closed a sale of its shares in Temirbank and part of its shares in Aliance Bank to businessman Bulat Utemuratov. Bulat Utemuratov is a key investor of the projects managed by Verny Capital[31] investment group, together with VEON he also owns two telecommunications operators –"KarTel"[32] in Kazakhstan and "SkyMobile" in Kyrgyzstan operating under the brand: Beeline. In October 2019, Bulat Utemuratov was in the top three of Forbes list of the 50 richest businessmen of Kazakhstan with an estimated capital of US$3,4 billion.[33]

On December, 1 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported about the freezing of Bulat Utemuratov's assets including stakes in luxury hotels, cash in bank accounts in half a dozen countries and a Burger King franchise, by a UK civil court on the claim of BTA Bank.[34] According to a statement distributed by Verny Capital on December 9, 2020, the freezing injunction of the English Court in relation to the assets of Bulat Utemuratov had been revoked.[35]

President NazarbayevEdit

After Kazakhstan became an independent country in 1991, President Nursultan Nazarbayev selected Utemuratov to go to Vienna and find economic opportunities for the new republic.[36] After Utemuratov returned, he stayed close to President Nazarbayev and held several senior roles in the Kazakh government.[37]

This included Secretary of the Security Council from 2003 to 2006 and head of the Presidential property management directorate from 2006 to 2008.[38]

From 2008 to 2013, he was described as an "adviser to the President" and he also held a role as a special representative to Kyrgyzstan.[39]

In a letter to the London Stock Exchange, they opposition leaders said:[40] "Bulat Utemuratov, the former head of administration for the President of Kazakhstan, is a co-owner of Kazzinc. Utemuratov is widely believed to be holding these assets for the benefit of Nazarbayev."

This close relationship with President Nazarbayev led to Utemuratov being given the nickname "the grey cardinal" in Kazakhstan.[41] He was also described as President Nazarbayev's "personal financial manager" in a US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks.


Glencore , the Swiss-based mining and commodities company, acquired the Vasilkovskoye gold mine in Kazakhstan from Verny Capital.[42] As part of this transaction, Verny was given shares in Kazzinc, Glencore's copper subsidiary in Kazakhstan. When Glencore announced its initial public offering (IPO) in London in 2011, the company said that some of the proceeds would be used to buy back the Kazzinc shares held by Verny Capital[43]

In 2012, Glencore bought the Kazzinc shares back from Verny Capital for $1.359 billion,[44] including $400 million in cash and the rest in Glencore shares. Since that transaction, Utemuratov and Glencore have done several other deals together and this has raised concerns about the nature of the relationship. In 2015, Glencore bought Utemuratov's Gulfstream private jet in an undisclosed transaction.[41]

In 2012, Glencore's Kazzinc subsidiary bought a 56% in a private school called Haileybury Astana for $23 million.[45] The company wrote off this investment and in 2016 transferred it to Utemuratov's charity for free. The school was opened by President Nazarbayev.

The Times quoted a spokeswoman for Utemuratov saying he: "is neither a middleman, nor proxy for President Nazarbayev" and that he had not profited from his relationship with the President.[45]

In 2013, Glencore gave a loan to Astana Property Management (APM), a company owned by Bulat Utemuratov via Verny Capital. The loan was to finance APM's construction of the Talan Towers hotel and apartment complex in Astana, Kazakhstan. Glencore loaned a total of $237 million to the project but the miner was forced to write off $96.5 million in 2018 after reported poor performance.[46]


In 2016, Bulat Utemuratov was chosen as one of the nominees in the "Business" category of the national project «El Tulgasy» (Leader of the Motherland) The idea of the project was to select the most significant citizens of Kazakhstan whose names are now associated with the achievements of the country. More than 350,000 people voted in this project, and Utemuratov was voted into 7th place in his category.[50]

Personal lifeEdit

Wife, Utemuratova (Baishuakova) Azhar Abzhamiyevna.

Children: sons Alidar Utemuratov (born in 1979) and Anuar Utemuratov (born in 1983), daughter Dinara (born in 2003).[51]

External linksEdit

Bulat Utemuratov on Twitter


  1. ^ "Press Releases 1999". unece.org.
  2. ^ "Kazakhstan Tennis Federation -". ktf.kz.
  3. ^ Youtube. "Developing tennis in Kazakhstan". YouTube.
  4. ^ http://www.itftennis.com/news/215120.aspx
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ BBC Sport. "Davis Cup: Great Britain drawn with Kazakhstan & Netherlands for Madrid finals".
  7. ^ Baigenews. "Когда наступит "золотая эра" в казахстанском теннисе?". https://baigenews.kz/news/kogda_nastupit_zolotaya_era_v_kazakhstanskom_tennise/. External link in |work= (help)
  8. ^ https://www.zakon.kz/4988276-bulat-utemuratov-izbran-vitse.html
  9. ^ "Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will play an exhibition match on October 2019 in Kazakhstan. - 5 Августа 2019 - RAFA NADAL - KING OF TENNIS". rafanadal-kingoftennis.ru. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ https://utemuratovfund.org/en
  11. ^ INFORM.KZ (31 May 2019). "Многодетным семьям Кызылорды вручили ключи от новых домов". www.inform.kz (in Russian). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Bulat Utemuratov's Foundation built houses for 100 families in Arys". Bulat Utemuratov. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  13. ^ "BURABIKE FEST 2020". BURABIKE FEST 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  14. ^ "About us - Bulat Utemuratov Foundation". My Application. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Bulat Utemuratov showed the reconstructed Botanical Garden to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev". Верный капитал. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  16. ^ "How Kazakhstani business and private initiatives help to cope with Covid-2019". Bulat Utemuratov. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Фонд Булата Утемуратова привез 94 тысячи экспресс-тестов". kapital.kz (in Russian). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Verny Capital allocates one million USD to the Republican Fund for countering coronavirus". Верный капитал. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Мобильные лаборатории на COVID-19 будут развернуты в Казахстане Фондом Булата Утемуратова". www.forbes.kz. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ INFORM.KZ (8 May 2020). "Булат Утемуратов выделил 6 млн долларов США на строительство 150 домов в Мактаарале". www.inform.kz (in Russian). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  21. ^ "О Фонде — Фонд балета".
  22. ^ https://batyr.foundation
  23. ^ http://www.conservatoire.kz/kz/
  24. ^ https://artspace.forte.bank
  25. ^ http://presidentfoundation.kz/?lang=en
  26. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes.
  27. ^ "Kazakh Billionaire Said to Weigh Bid as State Sells Banks". Bloomberg L.P. 9 April 2013.
  28. ^ "Kazakh Billionaire Says He's Got Nothing to Hide". Bloomberg News.
  29. ^ "UniCredit in talks to sell stake in Kazakhstan's ATF Bank-sources". Reuters. 17 November 2012.
  30. ^ "UPDATE 2-Unicredit wraps up Kazakh unit sale for $500 mln – source". Reuters. 2 May 2013.
  31. ^ "Kazzinc, Verny to Buy Kazakh Gold Producer for 30 Billion Tenge". Bloomberg L.P. 19 February 2013.
  32. ^ "Kazakh Billionaire Says He's Got Nothing to Hide". Bloomberg L.P. 13 November 2013.
  33. ^ "50 самых влиятельных бизнесменов - 2019 — Forbes Казахстан". www.forbes.kz. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  34. ^ Hope, Bradley (1 December 2020). "WSJ News Exclusive | U.K. Court Freezes Up to $5 Billion Tied to Alleged Kazakhstan Bank Theft". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  35. ^ Verny Capital (website). "Verny Capital". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-13/kazakh-billionaire-says-he-s-got-nothing-to-hide
  37. ^ Utemuratov, Bulat. "LinkedIn profile".
  38. ^ https://kz.linkedin.com/in/bulat-utemuratov
  39. ^ "Glencore's $7.6bn Kazakh business under threat".
  40. ^ "Kazakhstan: The Ablyazov Factor".
  41. ^ a b Millard, Rachel. "Glencore bought jet from Kazakh dictator's sidekick Bulat Utemuratov".
  42. ^ https://www.marketscreener.com/GLENCORE-PLC-8111440/pdf/278842/Glencore%20PLC_Annual-Report.pdf
  43. ^ "Glencore float could create Kazakhstan's richest man".
  44. ^ "Glencore in new deal to buy 18.91% Kazzinc stake".
  45. ^ a b "Glencore gave Kazakh dictator's ally big share in school".
  46. ^ Millard, Rachel. "Glencore takes $96m hit on loan to Kazakhstan's Bulat Utemuratov".
  47. ^ "О награждении государственными наградами республики казахстан". kazakhstan.news-city.info.
  48. ^ "Вручение государственных наград – Номад – 16.12.2014". nomad.su.
  49. ^ ""Жомарт жүрек" и "Алтын жүрек": Почему Булата Утемуратова выбрали благотворителем года?". Булат Утемуратов (in Russian). 19 January 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  50. ^ "ЕЛ ТҰЛҒАСЫ / ИМЯ РОДИНЫ / События / Разделы сайта / Деловой журнал Exclusive". 21 March 2017. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  51. ^ http://www.exclusive.kz/expertiza/antresoli/11302/