Russian Oligarchs

Kenes Rakishev: Detailed Biography of Kazakh Investor and Businessman

Early Life and Family Background

Kenes Rakishev, a renowned Kazakh businessman, was born on July 14, 1979, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. His father, Rakishev Khamit, held prominent positions in the government, notably serving as the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for an extended period.

Education

In 2000, Kenes Rakishev (Kenges Rakishev) graduated from the State Academy in Kazakhstan with a law degree, followed by a degree in economics from Ryskulov University of Economics in 2002. His pursuit of knowledge extended to international education, with a graduation from the Oxford International Business School in 2007, earning a London certificate.

Early Career in Government and Business

Life of Kenes Rakishev
Life of Kenes Rakishev

Kenes Rakishev embarked on his career in government positions, starting as an adviser to the Federal Traffic Safety Inspectorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan between 1998 and 1999. He later worked in managerial roles at KazTransGas and ventured into the wind energy sector. His career trajectory included significant positions such as first deputy general director of KazMunayGas and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kazakhstan.

Business Ventures and Entrepreneurship

In 2006, Rakishev led an organization spanning multiple industries, including mechanical engineering, construction, and metallurgy. Notable business deals include a profitable 2013 transaction with Central Asian Metals plc, marking his entry into both the American and London stock exchanges.

Rakishev has been actively involved in various financial ventures. His roles include working at the Otan Foundation in 2010, becoming a shareholder in Respublika, acquiring securities in the Standard Insurance organization, and investing in Magnum Cash & Carry. He facilitated Net Element’s entry into the international stock exchange and co-founded the international organization Genesis Angels in 2014.

Brief about Genesis Angels

Kenes Rakishev is a notable Kazakh businessman deeply involved in the establishment of the venture capital firm Genesis Angels. The firm has made a mark in the global venture business market, demonstrating its prowess through investments in diverse companies, particularly focusing on Israeli startups.

Rakishev, a pivotal figure in the firm’s investment activities, actively supports it through the fund. Genesis Angels has gained recognition for its substantial investments in cutting-edge fields such as AI, robotics, and other technology-related sectors. Playing a crucial role in laying the foundation for the firm’s operations is its co-founder, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert has been instrumental in shaping the firm’s strategy and providing crucial assistance to companies within its portfolio.

Investment portfolio

Kenes Rakishev expanded his investment portfolio and directed his focus towards insurance, venture funds, and IT technology. Serving on the board of directors for the Fastlane Ventures venture fund since 2012, Rakishev also established his venture fund in 2013 with the backing of the former Israeli Prime Minister. The Singulariteam fund, founded by Rakishev, is dedicated to discovering and advancing new technologies in the realms of robotics and IT.

Among the notable investments made by the Singulariteam fund are in the Net Element company, an electronic transaction service; the Qcard.ru service, specializing in electronic payments; and the Magnum Cash & Carry retail chain. Notably, the fund played a pivotal role in the development of the Sirin Labs smartphone Solarin, which was presented as the most secure smartphone, utilizing intelligence services technologies for data encryption and catering to politicians and prominent businessmen.

Building on its success, Sirin Labs, under the guidance of the Singulariteam fund, ventured into blockchain technology. The initial coin offering (ICO) garnered the required funds within the first few days, eventually doubling the amount raised. The Finney lineup, a subsequent development, encompasses a smartphone and PC, featuring its app store with token payments and interconnected cryptocurrency wallets.

Overview of SingulariTeam Fund founded by Kenes Rakishev

SingulariTeam is a private investment fund founded in 2012 by Kenes Rakishev (Kenges Rakishev), focusing on assisting early-stage technology companies requiring seed capital.

The fund is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, and invests in companies operating in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality, and other technology-based sectors.

Kenes Rakishev, the founder of Singulariteam, is a Kazakh businessperson close to the authoritarian regime in Kazakhstan.

He is the son-in-law of former Kazakh Prime Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov and has a background in marketing, finance, and venture capital.

Rakishev is also involved with other venture funds such as SingulariTeam and Fastlane Ventures.

In 2015, SingulariTeam raised $102 million for its second fund, with limited partners including Tencent, Renren, and Kenges Rakishev.

The fund focuses on making seed investments in startups in various industries, contributing to their growth and development.

Sports Enthusiast

Kenes Rakishev has been a significant supporter of sports development in Kazakhstan. He became the official sponsor of the Football and Boxing Federation in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and he sponsored the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in 2012. Rakishev’s involvement extends to serving as vice-president of the National Sports Association of Kazakhstan and supporting various sports clubs.

He has been actively involved in the development of boxing in Kazakhstan and has supported the national team members in various competitions. Rakishev has focused on raising the profile of boxing in Kazakhstan and expressing a desire to hold the Asian Boxing Championship in the country. His leadership has been associated with efforts to improve the performance and self-confidence of the nation’s boxing squad, aiming to restore the glory of Kazakhstan boxing.

Social Activities

Charitable Activities of Kenes
Charitable Activities of Kenes

Beyond business success, Rakishev is known for his philanthropic endeavours. He co-founded a fund for single mothers, providing housing and support. In 2015, he assisted families affected by mudflows, repaired houses, and supported disabled and elderly citizens. Rakishev actively supports young entrepreneurs through grants and funding creative projects.

Further details

The Rakishev family is actively involved in philanthropy, focusing on supporting young entrepreneurs and aiding orphans and the less fortunate. Kenes and his wife established the Sabi Charitable Foundation, which extends its support to children, youth, and individuals with disabilities.

The foundation’s initiatives include providing grants and covering training expenses for talented students in Kazakhstan. Through the educational program, over a thousand individuals participated in courses, gaining practical skills. The medical program “Sabi” facilitated treatment for more than 300 thousand people, with specific attention to supporting those with disabilities, including funding 62 cab cars to enhance their mobility.

In addition to education and healthcare, the foundation contributes to community infrastructure, funding the construction of sports grounds, playgrounds, and gyms. The Rakishev family’s philanthropy also includes donating a state-of-the-art 1200-seat school to Almaty.

In 2016, the “Meirim” social adaptation centre commenced operations, providing housing and practical education for orphanage graduates under 29 years old.

Complementing their charitable efforts, the Sabi Foundation, backed by Kenes Rakishev and Vyacheslav Kim, initiated the “Build Your Business” program to support startups and young entrepreneurs. Over the past five years, the program has awarded over $1 million in grants. In 2017, 393 applications were submitted, resulting in 26 finalists, and the first quarter of 2018 saw the announcement of 10 winners, encompassing diverse projects such as a cafe, electronics production, printing house, and electric wheelchair vehicles.

Rakishev and Kim maintain connections with the fund’s awardees, showcasing their achievements at events like the Almaty Pop-Up Store in 2017. Beyond his accomplishments in the financial, oil and gas, and IT sectors, Kenes Rakishev is revered for his contributions to fostering a robust social environment in Kazakhstan.

Personal Life of Kenes Rakishev (Kenges Rakishev)

Marital Life
Marital Life

Kenes Rakishev is married to Asel Tasmagambetova, the daughter of ex-Prime Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov. The couple are raising two sons, Dinmukhamed and Nuriddin. Asel is the president of the Sabi charity foundation, actively financed by Rakishev.

Recognition

Rakishev’s career achievements have garnered recognition, with mentions in Forbes and Vlast.kz, earning him prestigious awards and orders in Kazakhstan and the Chechen Republic.

Net worth

Kenes is a Millionaire
Kenes is a Millionaire

Kenes Rakishev‘s net worth is estimated to be $960 million, according to Forbes magazine in 2023.

He is a Kazakh businessman who has been involved in various ventures such as banking, mining, and social media platforms. Rakishev was ranked the seventh richest person in Kazakhstan and the fifth most influential businessman in the country by Forbes Kazakhstan’s annual ranking.

He is the controlling shareholder of the Kazakh commercial bank JSC “Kazkommertsbank” and the bank’s chairman of the board of directors. Rakishev also acquired a 22% stake in the London-listed gold miner Petropavlovsk PLC in 2018.

Fluctuations in wealth

Kenes Rakishev’s financial trajectory has undergone notable shifts over the years. In 2020, Forbes reported his wealth at a substantial $890 million, securing him the sixth position on their prestigious list of the wealthiest businessmen in Kazakhstan.

Fast forward to 2023, and Rakishev’s net worth has experienced an uptick, reaching an estimated $960 million. This adjustment has positioned him as the seventh-richest individual in Kazakhstan, underscoring the dynamic nature of his financial portfolio.

Rakishev’s wealth is subject to fluctuations due to his strategic investments across various sectors. His financial endeavours span the realms of banking, mining, technology, and even cryptocurrencies. This multifaceted approach to investment showcases Rakishev’s adaptability and foresight in navigating different markets, allowing him to capitalize on emerging opportunities and weather economic changes. His ability to navigate the complexities of diverse sectors highlights his astute business acumen and the agility to capitalize on evolving trends.

Controversies

– Mullen Automotive’s Troubles, Legal Battles, and Foreign Influences

Mullen Automotive, a publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ, faced a tumultuous journey marked by legal entanglements, financial mismanagement, and alleged ties to foreign entities. Led by CEO David Michery, the company’s questionable practices triggered a cascade of issues, including a pending lawsuit against major brokerage firms and a projection of delisting from NASDAQ.

Financial Declines and Lawsuits

Despite undergoing reverse stock splits, Mullen’s share value has plummeted, leading to a potential delisting from NASDAQ. The company’s lawsuit against the brokerage firm alleges stock manipulation, further tarnishing its reputation. CEO Michery, while expressing frustration, is under scrutiny for his financial stewardship and the company’s historical performance.

Controversial Acquisitions

Mullen’s acquisition history adds to the scepticism. The company’s deals with Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS) and Bollinger Motors, both marred by controversies, have raised eyebrows. The questionable financial health of acquired companies like ELMS paints a bleak picture of Mullen’s strategic decisions.

Leadership Concerns

CEO David Michery’s track record, filled with failed ventures and legal challenges, adds to the concerns surrounding Mullen. His involvement with companies facing financial troubles and SEC scrutiny raises doubts about his business practices. The connection with individuals like Kenes Rakishev, suspected of ties to Russian intelligence, further amplifies the leadership’s dubious nature.

Foreign Influences and Security Implications

The merger with Net Element, involving key player Kenes Rakishev, introduces foreign influences. Rakishev’s alleged ties to Russian intelligence, combined with Mullen’s strategic significance, raise concerns about potential espionage and manipulation of U.S. public opinion. The security implications of these associations are underscored by Rakishev’s connections to controversial figures and involvement in fraudulent business schemes.

Analysis and Conclusion

Mullen Automotive’s trajectory points towards bankruptcy, with the most recent lawsuit representing a critical juncture. The company’s leadership, particularly David Michery and Kenes Rakishev, is mired in controversy and questionable dealings. The looming delisting of NASDAQ and financial troubles suggest a dire outlook. Addressing the potential security risks tied to foreign influences, especially Russian intelligence, becomes imperative for national security.

– Petropavlovsk’s Move to Oust Rakishev-Aligned Director

Petropavlovsk, the Russian gold mining entity listed on the London Stock Exchange, declared its intent to oust a board member affiliated with its major stakeholder, Kenes Rakishev. The unfolding scenario heightened tensions among conflicting investor factions, each vying for dominance within the company.

In a proclamation for its upcoming annual meeting, Petropavlovsk tabled a proposal for the removal of Bektas Mukazhanov, the director nominated by Rakishev. Following the delivery of this notice to Mukazhanov, Petropavlovsk swiftly executed the termination of his directorship.

Rakishev, a Kazakh entrepreneur aligned with investors CABS Platform and Slevin, had been advocating for the reinstatement of Pavel Maslovskiy as the Chief Executive Officer. Maslovskiy had previously resigned in July 2015 amidst a shareholder uprising. Nevertheless, Petropavlovsk maintained a steadfast stance, resisting Maslovskiy’s return and standing firm on retaining its existing management.

The rationale behind Mukazhanov’s board removal, as asserted by Petropavlovsk, was rooted in his association with Fincraft Holdings Ltd, a company under Rakishev’s ownership. The mining company contended that this connection posed a conflict of interest.

Expressing surprise at his abrupt removal, Mukazhanov criticized the ongoing strife, deeming it a diversion for the board. He underscored that the board’s principal responsibility should have been the advancement of the business rather than becoming ensnared in conflicts with stakeholders.

Petropavlovsk additionally sought disclosure about the entities behind CABS and Slevin, jointly possessing 9.1% of the company and domiciled offshore in Panama and Anguilla. The company cast doubt on the legitimacy of these entities, expressing scepticism regarding their sudden injection of approximately £20 million into a Russian gold mining venture.

Petropavlovsk’s stock value underwent fluctuations over the years, experiencing a substantial downturn from its zenith in 2008. In response, Rakishev urged the board to acknowledge the erosion of majority shareholder support, proposing stepping down to avert further harm to the company.

The dispute unfolded at a pivotal juncture for Petropavlovsk, poised on the brink of concluding a decade-long pursuit to extract previously inaccessible gold. The miner stood on the verge of implementing technology designed to augment profits from the processing of refractory gold ore, a formidable undertaking using conventional methods.

As the conflict intensified, Petropavlovsk reached out to British regulatory bodies, urging an inquiry into CABS and Slevin for potential associations with other shareholders or the three nominee directors: Maslovskiy, Roderic Lyne, and Robert Jenkins. Maslovskiy disavowed any links to the two investors, while Lyne and Jenkins refrained from immediate comment on the matter. The struggle for control persisted as the company negotiated critical milestones in its operations.

– Kenes Rakishev’s Affiliation with Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov

Kenes Rakishev found himself in the spotlight, prompting inquiries into his affiliations with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and potential repercussions concerning US sanctions. Rakishev, distinguished for his financial backing and intimate camaraderie with Kadyrov, shared a congruent ideological stance on Islam with the Chechen leader, who warmly addresses him as his “dear brother.”

Concerns about Rakishev’s alliance with Kadyrov, a staunch ally of Vladimir Putin known for his autocratic rule in Chechnya, grew as the US continued to pursue sanctions against oligarchs who support the Russian regime. Kadyrov’s actions, which have frequently been accused of violating human rights, were condemned by international NGOs as “crimes against humanity.”

Irrespective of Kadyrov’s contentious reputation, Rakishev openly embraced the Chechen leader and was rumoured to have extended financial backing for the opulent palace construction in Grozny attributed to Kadyrov. A photographic chronicle of their relationship dating back to the early 2000s encapsulates the evolution of their bond, capturing moments when Rakishev donned a Chechen military uniform alongside Kadyrov.

In 2015, Kadyrov publicly conveyed birthday felicitations to Rakishev on Instagram, endearingly designating him a “dear brother.” However, with the imposition of US sanctions on Kadyrov and key associates in 2020, the post was expunged. Presently, Rakishev confronts renewed scrutiny due to his business entanglements with Kadyrov, particularly in the aftermath of the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

Investigations laid bare Rakishev’s pivotal role in the opulent palace’s construction. Leaked correspondence from 2011 unravelled his discourse with an upscale Italian furniture establishment, synchronizing with the palace’s construction. The communication delineates Rakishev’s involvement in procuring diverse elements, encompassing marble flooring and luxurious furnishings. While the settlement of the final financial reckoning remains ambiguous, Rakishev’s association with Kadyrov and his involvement in the palace’s construction heighten the spectre of potential US sanctions.

Summary

Kenes Rakishev, born on July 14, 1979, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, is a prominent Kazakh businessman with a diverse career spanning government, business, and philanthropy. Graduating in law and economics, he later earned a London certificate from the Oxford International Business School. Rakishev began his career in government positions and transitioned to various roles in Kazakh companies.

He led organizations across multiple industries, participated in significant deals, and co-founded the venture capital firm Genesis Angels. His investment portfolio expanded into insurance, venture funds, and IT technology, with the Singulariteam fund focusing on AI, robotics, and technology startups. Rakishev has also been actively involved in sports development and philanthropy, co-founding the Sabi Charitable Foundation.

His personal life includes marriage to Asel Tasmagambetova, and they have two sons. Rakishev’s net worth, estimated at $960 million in 2023, reflects his success and influence in various sectors. However, controversies surround his involvement with Mullen Automotive, Petropavlovsk, and his affiliation with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, raising legal, financial, and geopolitical concerns.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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