Lawyers provided the significant documents proving Utemuratov’s nonparticipation in the facts stated by BTA Bank in the English Court.
Shareholder of the Verny Capital Group of Companies Bulat Utemuratov commented on cancellation of restrictive measures imposed earlier on his assets by the English Court.
“I am satisfied that the decision of the English Court on imposing restrictions on my assets has been cancelled and the claim of BTA Bank has been withdrawn. In a short period of time our team of lawyers has collected the significant documents proving my nonparticipation,” said Bulat Utemuratov.
He highlighted that the Group’s companies run their work on the principles of transparency and base it on respect for the law and on the best corporate governance practices.
“My reputation and my fair name have always been a top priority for me. I would like to thank all who supported me in this difficult period of time – my family, friends, partners, staff members of the Group’s companies and all caring people,” added Bulat Utemuratov.
The English Court imposed restrictions on assets of Bulat Utemuratov after he has been included in the list of defendants on the BTA Bank case in November. Initially the bank’s lawsuit was filed against Mukhtar Ablyazov and Ilyas Khrapunov in 2015.
Negotiations between representatives of Bulat Utemuratov and BTA Bank resulted in signing the confidential agreement in accordance with which the bank undertook to withdraw its claim. Under this agreement, the order of the English Court to impose restrictive measures on the assets of Bulat Utemuratov has been withdrawn.
From 26 October to 1 November Kazakhstan, for the first time, hosted the prestigious tennis tournament of ATP 250 series.Players from the first hundred of the men’s rating came to Astana Open. The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation was able to organize a tennis week in a short time at the highest level. Bright victories and offensive defeats, competitive spirit and incomparable emotions of the winner John Millman – all this filled the courts of the National Tennis Centre during these seven days.
Tournament during the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic made its corrections almost in all sectors, including the tournament calendar. Many competitions were postponed, some were completely cancelled. As a result, not so many rating tournaments have been played for the year. At long last, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) decided to hold four additional tournaments at the end of the year, choosing Kazakhstan as the location for one of them.
As initially the tournament was not included in the calendar, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation had just six weeks to arrange it. Players also had to take urgent decisions on their participation. Nobody knew what to expect from this new tournament, many came to Nur-Sultan for the first time, and the globalCovid-19 situation only added to the uncertainty.
Despite all this, quite a strong lineup of participants gathered for Astana Open, which included the World number 28Benoit Paire, number 39 Adrian Mannarino, well known to tennis fans for their performances at Grand Slam tournaments Fernando Verdasco, Frances Tiafoe and a whole galaxy of young promising players rivaling for rating points.
John Millman’s victory
The winner of Astana Open –Australian tennis player John Millman – has rightly earned 250 rating points and the money prize of 13,000 dollars. His path to the final was not easy. He first downed the famous Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, and then, in hard three-set duels, revealing an outrageous will to win, defeated Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe.
In the final, John Millman had a very troublesome rival – French tennis player Adrian Mannarino. Millman managed to take over the first set, and this determined the final’s outcome. Before that, Mannarino has not been inferior to anyone in this tournament, and when this happened, he became noticeably nervous, which allowed John Millman to calmly finish the match in his favor: 7:5, 6:3.
Mikhail Kukushkin played the best of all Kazakhstani tennis players at the tournament. He made it to the quarterfinals, beating the first seeded Benoit Paire.
Fans from Nur-Sultanwere, of course, very disappointed when organisers announced that the event of such a scale would take place in Nur-Sultan with no spectators allowed. Only a small number of tournament personnel regularly tested for the coronavirus infection were allowed into the stands.
This year players started to get used to the situation when their scored goals were not accompanied by loud applause. In Nur-Sultan, this was replaced by a recording of the sounds of a jubilant crowd. But one can do nothing about this. Anyhow, the main thing for tennis players is the opportunity to get tournament practice and rating points.
The tournament has every chance to become annual
All players were also tested forCovid-19 every four days. Due to the strict regulations, tennis players did go out for excursions and could not walk in the city, they traveled only from the hotel to courts and backwards. But even this was enough for them to have nice impressions of their trip.
The semi-finalist of the tournament, Frances Tiafoe, said that he did not expect such a heavy snowfall already on the first game day, and called Nur-Sultan a very pleasant city.
Astana Open winner John Millman repeatedly noted the excellent conditions that the organizers created for the players during the tournament.
Tennis players, organizers and, of course, Kazakhstani fans hope that Nur-Sultan will be a permanent location in the ATP calendar.
“When the opportunity came to play at Astana Open, I did not hesitate for a minute. This is one of the best tournaments where I have played. I am sure that this tournament should become an annual event, because I enjoyed every minute being a guest in this beautiful country,” said John Millman.
Tournament Director Attila Richter thanked the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation and its President Bulat Utemuratov at the closing awards ceremony for the opportunity to hold this first, historical for Kazakhstan, tournament.
“I do very much hope that everyone stayed pleased. Looking forward to see you again in Nur-Sultan next year,” he said.
The Botanical Garden was visited by 5,000 people over October weekends – earlier such figures were registered only after its opening, when visits were free of charge. To avoid ticket office queues, the Garden launched online sales of tickets.
After the reconstruction initiated and sponsored by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, the Central Botanical Garden of Almaty became the favourite place for the city inhabitants to visit. The number of guests does not fall down even with the first cold spells. People come here to escape from the city hustle and bustle, walk outdoors, enjoy the autumn beauty and just take pictures in the bosom of nature.
“In summer, after the opening, access to the garden was free of charge for a while. Naturally, everybody wanted to see how the garden changed, and the attendance on those days was record- breaking – 5,000 people a day. Then the access became chargeable and the flow slightly decreased at first, but it constantly grew from month to month. The average attendance in summer was 3,400 people a day, in autumn – 2,600. But there were spikes on weekends, when the number of visitors again reached 5,000 people,” says Director of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction Gulnara Sitpayeva.
To avoid crowds at the entrance, the Botanical Garden management introduced the online purchase of tickets. So far the service is available for Beeline subscribers, from mid-November it will be available in the Kaspi.kz mobile application too.
“For the convenience of our visitors, we have launched sales of entrance tickets by means of text messages sent to a short number 5505. This mode can so far be used by Beeline subscribers only. From 10 November sales of tickets in Кaspi.kz and My Beeline applications will start,” continues Gulnara Sitpayeva.
In October, for the second time after the opening, the Botanical Garden management held yet another fair of plants where the city people could buy house flowers.
“The has being held for a week, next to the conservatory. We were selling pot plants grown in our conservatory and greenhouses. Succulents were in the greatest demand. Prices varied from 500 to 2,000 tenge. We plan to hold such sales on a regular basis. You also can buy from us some planting material for allotment gardens – there are various kinds of trees and shrubs, the survivability of which we guarantee,” emphasizes the head of the institute.
In addition, they resumed excursions carried out in the Botanical Garden. The management hopes that the excursions will be popular among schoolchildren. The groups are meant to be small due to the epidemiological situation in the country. Compliance with sanitary standards is strictly monitored: entrance is allowed only in a face-mask, markings for social distance and sanitizers for hand treatment are available.
“We are launching regular excursion days from November: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Excursions are conducted by our dendrologists in the Russian and Kazakh languages. Several routes have been developed. The tour lasts an hour and a half. During the excursions, you can learn a lot of interesting things about the history of the Botanical Garden itself, as well as about individual plants, which we are especially proud of – because we have plants from different continents; we have rare Red Book plants. A publication dedicated to excursions in the Botanical Garden will be released by a publishing house in the nearest future,” says Gulnara Sitpayeva.
Currently they are preparing the garden for winter: cutting roses, covering them with chipped wood. Works will be carried out to prevent freezing of the root system of magnolias and sakuras planted during the reconstruction, crowns of Japanese maples and rhododendrons will be sheltered for the winter. Swans from the restored pond have already been transported to the zoo’s covered pavilions for the winter. Fish will stay in the pond for the winter, just like out in the wild.
“In the nearest future we plan to hold master classes for visitors, fairs, arrangement of topic- specific picture zones. Only outdoor leisure events are envisaged in the garden, therefore all activities will take into account weather conditions. And we also have no objective to turn the Botanical Garden into the place for entertainments, our primary mission is scientific research and environmental protection, and the purpose of events is to raise the level of the ecological education and the environmental culture,” notes our interlocutor.
Unlike parks, the Botanical Garden has documented collection funds of plants that is the heritage and pride of Kazakhstan. The plant funds are dated back to 1932. In the near prospective, the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction plans to undertake:
research of plants for greening of various regions of Kazakhstan;
renovation of laboratory buildings and equipping them with modern scientific equipment and special machinery to take care of plants;
overhaul of the conservatory and greenhouse complex and replication of the commercially valuable assortment of indoor plants.
“After the completion of the Botanical Garden reconstruction project, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is financing the drawing up of the design and estimate documentation for the conservatory renovation. Also, landscape architect Nelly Lapteva continues to support and provide expert advice on some works related to completed plantings. We will continue the work through collaboration with partners and our own events to strengthen the garden’s position as the favourite place to visit for inhabitants and guests of Almaty and as a place that promotes raising both educational and cultural levels of the population. We believe that the entire culture of the society starts from the culture of attitude to the environment,” summarised Gulnara Sitpayeva.
Reconstruction of the Botanical Garden was initiated in 2018 by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and completed in June 2020. The purpose of this project was restoration of the Botanical Garden while preserving its territory entirety and distinctiveness, infrastructure modernisation and multiplication of the green reserves. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated for the reconstruction 15 million dollars.
(Reuters) – Australian fourth seed John Millman beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 in the final of the Astana Open to claim his maiden ATP Tour title on Sunday.
Millman had previously lost two finals in his career but cruised to the title after a tough opening set, breaking Mannarino three times in the contest and denying the third seed a single break.
Millman saved five break points in the opening set which went with serve until he got the crucial break at 6-5 to take the lead.
The second set was one-way traffic after the opening two games, however, with Millman winning five games in a row as Mannarino’s unforced error count continued to climb.
The 31-year-old Australian was nearly knocked out earlier in the tournament when he saved two match points against Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals and fought back from a set down to overcome Frances Tiafoe in the semi-finals.
Three-room houses were granted to residents of villages that were affected by floods in the Turkestan Oblast.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated 6 mln dollars to construct houses for families left without homes following floods in the Maktaaral District. The emergency occurred on 2 May 2020 when the blow-out of the Sardobe water reservoir in Uzbekistan led to high water covering five villages in the bordering Turkestan Oblast.
Three residential places – Zhenis, Zhanaturmys and Dostyk – were affected the most, the bulk of houses there was destroyed. Residents were evacuated to the Myrzakent village. They were accommodated at their relatives and temporary facilities opened in a rush. The latter were opened in kindergarten and school buildings. Thousands of people lived in such conditions for five months.
“We had nothing left: our house was flooded, cattle died. We evaded our home just in what we were dressed in. First we lived at school, then with our in-laws, then – with our son in another village. Too many people were left homeless because of the flood. It’s good that gentle people did not leave us high and dry and are helping us,” tells a local resident, Dariga Kaiyrova.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation built new houses for the flood victims on the edge of the Myrzakent village. A new microdistrict situated in 70 hectares appeared here to accommodate relocatees.
New housing was given to 150 families. Instead of old houses with stove heating and outdoor plumbing, the new settlers got three-room cottages of 100 square metres. The houses were commissioned as ready-to-move-in: with linoleum, doors, plumbing fixtures and tiles in toilets. As a gift, water heating devices and gas stoves were installed in kitchens. Rooms are spacious and light. Houses have own fenced parcels of land. Gas heating is laid through to cottages.
“Our house was built at the account of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. I am thankful for my family was given a roof over our heads. This is a big and good deed. We will finally live as before, in our big family,” says happily Gulbanu Naushabekova.
The woman’s family is eight people who had to separate after the flooding. Parents stayed with relatives, and the young family and their children – in a kindergarten.
“Our shareholder Bulat Utemuratov was the first among Kazakhstani philanthropists to respond to the calamity that occurred this spring. He allocated 6 mln dollars for construction of 150 houses for residents of Maktaaral who lost their homes following the disaster. This is, perhaps, the biggest contribution to the region recovery. Implementing the project we were choosing only the best materials and were strictly monitoring the quality of works,” said at the keys delivery ceremony the General Director of the Verny Capital group of companies, Erlan Ospanov.
Umirzak Shukeyev, Akim (Governor) of the Turkestan Oblast, handed to Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation a letter of thanks from the President of Kazakhstan for involvement in the new microdistrict construction.
The Akimat paid for central water supply, heating and sewage systems be connected to new houses, street lighting in courtyards be installed and high-speed internet line be extended.
“The charity project was implemented in cooperation with the Turkestan Oblast Akimat. Our partnership became yet another successful example when the private initiative and the public support efficiently solve community problems. Last year we have financed construction of houses for 100 multi-child families in Kyzylorda and 100 families affected by ammunition explosions in Arys. Here in Myrzakent we are now implementing the third and most large-scaled project on construction of housing,” – added the Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, Marat Aitmagambetov.
Two first projects – construction of houses in Kyzylorda and Arys – were implemented by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation at their own initiative in 2019. The amount of 1.3 billion tenge was allocated for these charity programmes. With the construction of houses in Myrzakent, the amount of the sponsorship comprised 3.7 billion tenge.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was established in the beginning of 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to help Kazakhstan to become a better place for the life of people today and in the future.
Part of the money was given to the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund, the rest was used to buy first express tests and module PCR laboratories.
businessman Bulat Utemuratov continues his charity efforts during the pandemic and
coronacrisis. The philanthropist has allocated the total of 5.5 million dollars
to fight Covid-19 through his namesake foundation and the Verny Capital group
Assistance to people through the Birgemiz Foundation
The principal shareholder of the Verny Capital group of companies made the first contribution of 1 million dollars in the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund. This happened on 20 March 2020 – exactly a week after the first Covid-19 contraction cases were revealed in Kazakhstan. Then the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, addressed compatriot businessmen calling them to help the country in that uneasy period.
“There is no single person in the world now who would be not affected by the threat of the coronavirus infection spread and by the measures undertaken by governments to stop the global pandemic. These are very hard times and we need to survive through them together, helping and supporting, therefore I have taken a decision to transfer 1 million dollars to the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund,” then said Bulat Utemuratov.
Funds of Birgemiz Foundation were used to pay out 50,000 tenge to socially vulnerable groups of population during several months, and to buy medicines, personal protective equipment and artificial lung ventilation devices for hospitals.
First express tests for Kazakhstanis
April 2020, when there were already over 600 people in Kazakhstan infected with
the new type of coronavirus, and screening systems were in deficiency in the
country, Bulat Utemuratov’s Charity Foundation has imported 94,000 Covid-19
47,000 kits each were donated to the public health departments of Nur-Sultan and Almaty, where the highest number of the infected was recorded at that time.
made in China (where the Covid-19 outbreak started) were certified in the
territory of the European Union and were mandatorily validated in the Central
Reference Laboratory of Almaty that verified their quality. Following the
decision of the Ministry of Health, express tests were sent for the charge-free
screening of high-risk groups:
medical and law-enforcement officers;
patients with ORVI symptoms and chronic
those in contact with the infected;
those arriving from abroad via road
buy express tests, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated 200 million tenge.
High-tech module PRC laboratories
June, when the number of the infected in Kazakhstan went above 10,000 and the
Republic borders were closed, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation brought two mobile
PCR laboratories and gave them free of charge to the health departments in
Nur-Sultan and Almaty.
“First module laboratories were developed as late as in April, and only in China. The manufacturer – BGI company – is the world leader in medical research, production of equipment and consumables for laboratory tests. There were difficulties with delivery because of the closed borders of Kazakhstan, with logistics – because of block posts between cities within the country, but the state needed such laboratories urgently. We managed to supply the complexes to Kazakhstan as early as in the beginning of June,” told they in Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.
Then – at the peak of the pandemic – state laboratories could not cope with the load, and Kazakhstanis had to wait for Covid-19 test results for several days. Therefore opening of new laboratories in the two most densely populated cities of the Republic lifted a certain tension.
feature three air-inflated modules, which allows for their rapid deployment and
move from one place to another. They are intended not for biomaterial sampling but
for sample testing. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation equipped the laboratories
with kits of required agents sufficient for 30,000 tests. The capacity of each laboratory
is 1,000 analyses a day with a potential increase up to 5,000. Test results are ready within three hours.
and delivery of PCR-screening laboratories cost Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation 4
The international private Haileybury school working in compliance with the British standards of education has moved to the mixed mode of work.
The international private
Haileybury Almaty school introduced the unprecedented measures to comply with
the sanitary regulations to enable junior pupils to study in classrooms. Every
room has air disinfecting re-circulators, sanitiser dispensers and additional
tables installed to place children so that the social distance is observed. Middle
school and senior pupils are taught remotely, but their tutorial process matches
the classroom format as much as possible.
“We give the best knowledge and learning environment”
While children were on their summer vacations, the management of Haileybury in Nur-Sultan and Almaty developed comprehensive plans to prepare both schools to various teaching scenarios: traditional, mixed and distance. Covid-19-free environment was created in improved campuses: classroom furniture was arranged taking into consideration the social distancing, markings were put throughout the school territory, sanitizers, webcams with built-in thermovision devices and re-circulators that kill 99% of viruses and bacteria in the air and on open surfaces were installed.
The Ministry of Education permitted to open at schools only skeleton classes for pupils in grades 1-4. But the learning process at Haileybury is arranged according to the British educational standards which are believed to be ones of the best in the world. Here, instead of the usual 11 grades, a 5 key stages system is envisaged which covers a child’s life period from 4 to 18 years. Therefore pupils of the primary school – children aged from 4 to 10 years – started their schooling from September (Key stage 1 and Key stage 2). Each classroom accommodates no more than 15 people.
“Very strict safety measures were taken at our school due to Covid-19. Junior pupils are taught offline, and senior pupils are studying remotely. This is a quite strange and at the same time exciting experience in the school education. But I am sure that we provide the best possible knowledge and learning environment both for the children studying in classrooms and for the students learning at home,” says Simon Mills, Haileybury Almaty Director.
Last academic years Simon Mills headed the Robert
Gordon’s College – one of the biggest independent schools of Scotland and the
United Kingdom. He joined Haileybury in August 2020.
Now the mask wearing mode is in effect at the school, and personnel in contact with other people also wear protective shields (distributors, cleaners, medical staff, security service staff).
Sanitisers are available
throughout the entire school territory: at the entrance/exit, in classrooms and
in the canteen. Movement inside the building is possible only one-way, and
signs on the floor warn about this. Separation barriers are installed between
the groups to isolate children. Wardrobes and elevators do not work during the
pandemic to avoid accumulation of people.
give lessons in real time”
Haileybury tries to build the distance learning process so that it as close as possible to the traditional format. “Teachers give lessons in real time while being at school, that is, these are not pre-recorded lessons. We have equipped them with the necessary devices: cameras, powerful computers, high-speed Internet. We have conducted trainings so that all staff understand the essence of online learning. We are very proud that even in such an environment we continue to provide children with a quality education and prepare them for exams,” continues Simon Mills.
The daily routine of middle and senior
school pupils did not change. They still wake up in the morning, get connected
to online lessons, take rest during breaks and lunch time.
“We expect the second wave of coronavirus this winter, but in the event the quarantine measures are lifted we are ready to return all pupils to the traditional format of education right now,” added the school director.
different about the education at Haileybury Almaty
Pupils of three first stages at Haileybury
Almatyget basic education in
English. Senior stage pupils (14-16 years old) take a two-year course that
forms and develops their academic knowledge, skills and abilities. Having passed
exams, students get an international secondary education certificate (IGCSE).
The next milestone – fifth stage – is preparation for A-Level exams (programme of preparation for admission to universities in the UK or other Western countries). The programme allows students of the last two grades to focus on the three main disciplines: mathematics, STEM and English. The A-Level at Haileybury Almaty is equal to the first year of study at the university, so graduates usually go straight to the second year of the world’s leading universities.
The international private schools Haileybury in Nur-Sultan and Almaty fall under the structure of the Verny Capital group of companies which major shareholder is businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. This is a non-commercial organisation, and the founder does not get dividends on it. The schools are the social assets of Verny Capital.
The Central Botanical Garden openedon 15 June after reconstruction. The entrance was free of charge for the whole week so that residents of Almaty and guests of the city could see with their own eyes how the territory was transfigured. At that time, volunteers, curators and employees of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction were on duty in the garden.
was initiated in 2018 by Kazakh businessman and philanthropist Bulat
Utemuratov, who funded it through his charity foundation. The total cost of reconstruction was 15 million
dollars. The aim of the project was careful restoration of the Botanical
Garden with preservation of the integrity and distinctive character of its
territory, modernisation of infrastructure andmultiplication of the green fund.
Shortly before the opening, on 12 May, the Central Botanical Garden was visited by the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, as part of his working trip to Almaty. The head of state got acquainted with the results of the reconstruction.
“We took the implementation of this project very seriously so that to not only preserve the green fund of the garden but also to multiply it, enriching it with new collections. Careful restoration and use of advanced technologies are the two main principles which we were guided by. We put our souls and hearts in this project, did our best for the renewed botanical garden to catch fancy of the Almaty residents. This is our gift to the city which is presented altruistically: the garden will stay in the state ownership and will continue its scientific activity,” said Bulat Utemuratov.
Most of the
funds spent on the reconstruction went to the purchase of plants to restore and
multiply the green fund of the Botanical Garden. All seedlings were imported
from Europe, from nurseries in Germany and Poland. Over 1,300 trees, about
3,000 rose bushes, and about 130,000 cereals and perennial grasses were
A new fence was installed around the perimeter of the Botanical Garden during the reconstruction; these measures and a video surveillance system should help stop vandalism.
“Smart”Botanical Garden. What’s this?
“smart” irrigation of plants and introduction of electronic technologies in the
park territory. The irrigation ditch network in the garden has long fallen into
disrepair, and the two existing wells have long ceased to provide water to the
As part of
the reconstruction, the irrigation and watering system was restored. Two new
artesian wells were drilled with a capacity of 40 cubic meters per hour each,
the throughput capability of the two existing wells was increased from 20 to 25
cubic meters per hour. A water intake was built from the Kerenkulak River,
flowing on the southern side of Al-Farabi Avenue.
In order to
turn the Botanical Garden into a modern, comfortable and environmentally
friendly public space, its open areas were radically revised. Three new
entrance pavilions were erected here. Visitors can get into the garden from
Timiryazev Street, from the Atakent Exhibition Centre, as well as from
Al-Farabi Avenue. All pavilions are made of natural materials, they have
electronic ticketing systems and the inherent infrastructure of tourist and
public places – souvenir shops, small cafeterias, toilets.
ThebestmanagersoftheVernyCapitalGroupofCompanies were involved in the implementation of this project.
Now the garden is ennobled and expanded to 27.7 hectares of public areas, 50,000 square metres of roads and paths were repaired, along which 1,500 lanterns were installed, and garden furniture (250 benches) was renovated. In the northern parterre, the pavement was replaced with natural stone, a “dry” fountain and a pond with aquatic plants were created. The wasteland was turned into the southern parterre with three ponds, a pergola, a field of mixed herbs, maple, linden, birch and pine alleys.