Vatan leader Hudaiberdy Orazov does not know anything about the Turkmenbashi's bank accounts
The Financial Times reported last Saturday that the Turkmen authorities had $1.68 billion worth of gas export to Ukraine revenues in Deutsche Bank and that President Saparmurat Niyazov alone was allegedly in control of the bank account. Kommersant approached Vatan leader Hudaiberdy Orazov, former chairman of the Turkmen Central Bank, for comments.
Question: What do you think of the media reports concerning the billions stashed abroad, on bank accounts with Deutsche Bank, Niyazov controlled personally?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: There is no such thing as bank accounts like that. The matter concerns Turkmen Central Bank's bank accounts abroad because it is the Central Bank that handles all this money. It is chairman of the Central Bank who controls this money and nobody else.
Question: What does Turkmenistan have in terms of gold and hard currency reserves nowadays? A rough approximation, please?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: Approximately $7 billion.
Question: Is there a chance that the Turkmenbashi's personal bank accounts in the West will ever be discovered?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: People like that never have bank accounts in their own names. Whatever money they withdraw from the country is usually converted into securities, real estate, and so on. Forget bank accounts.
Question: There are the rumors that Alexander Jadan, the Turkmenbashi's personal treasurer, managed his wealth...
Hudaiberdy Orazov: There was a man like that indeed. He handled purely administrative issues. That Orazov was Niyazov's treasurer is a lie. He was never so major a figure, you know. I do not know why anyone would claim that he was playing any such part.
Question: Is there a risk that some money will disappear the way it happened in 2002 when $41.5 million were stolen from the Turkmen Central Bank's bank accounts with Deutsche Bank?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: I doubt it. There were purges under way then, when one chairman of the Central Bank was jailed and his successor did not actually know the first thing about banking. The Central Bank chairman these days is a seasoned financier, Turkmen banks are cautious now. They will never permit any movement of the finances without the Central Bank chairman's signature.
Question: European media outlets are speculating on Turkmen bank accounts in the West. Who do you think launched this whole campaign?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: I do not know. All I know is that it hadn't been us. There are people like that, you know, who cannot resist the temptation to tell newspapers something, no matter what.
Question: What about your negotiations in Kiev? Any results to report?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: These are not official talks, you know. It's just that we are discussing things with politicians in different countries and just happened to be in Ukraine these days.
Question: What are the chances of the opposition to return to Turkmen politics?
Hudaiberdy Orazov: Eighty to twenty. We hope that the people who are in the upper echelons of state power in Turkmenistan nowadays understand that it is a humanitarian catastrophe that is occurring in the country.
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Kommersant, December 25, 2006, p. 9
© Translated by Ferghana.Ru