Former Head of Turkmen Chemical Giant Under Arrest

The former head of the Turkmenhimiya state concern, Niyazly Niyazlyev, has been arrested in Ashgabat. learned this from two separate sources – one in the Turkmen government and the other in a security and law-enforcement agency.

Niyazly Niyazlyev

The arrest took place about a week ago, according to the government source, and on November 30 in the evening, according to the security agency source.

Niyazlyev was taken to the Prosecutor General’s Office, where he was charged with the theft of state property on an especially large scale, misuse of an official position, exceeding his authority, receiving bribes, and fraud. Afterwards he was placed in a holding cell.

According to the source in the security bodies, before leaving his house Niyazlyev managed to call the president’s cousin, Hajymyrat Rejepov, to tell him he was being taken to the prosecutor’s office. Rejepov promised to sort out the problem.

Several observers think, however, that problems might lie in store for him too. After all, Hajymyrat Rejepov is implicated in many corrupt schemes involving the acquisition of urea on Turkmenistan’s state commodities exchange and its export.

Hajymyrat is already having to transfer money from his accounts in the UAE and Turkey in order to cover his tracks, according to some reports. At the same time, he can no longer leave the country, as the border is unofficially closed to him. The source in the security agencies reckons that Niyazlyev will definitely give evidence against Rejepov… If he survives until the trial, that is. And for that reason alone he might not survive.

A source in the Turkmenhimiya state concern thinks the reverse – that Rejepov is under no threat. Recently he even posted a photo on social media of his trip to the Garabogazkarbamid (Garabogaz urea) plant.

As for less influential figures, Niyazlyev’s arrest has already thrown them into a panic. Murat Charyev, the former head of the Turkmenhimiya logistics department, Rustam Hamrayev, the government official responsible for the state concern, Atageldi Byashimov, the deputy chairman, Azat Atayev, a former National Security Ministry employee who is close to Turkmenhimiya and is the founder of the Bir Kuvvat transport and logistics company, and a number of other businessmen are all, according to sources, getting in touch with “their” employees in the law-enforcement agencies and asking them to remove their names from the case. 

At the recent investment forum in Berlin Atayev and Byashimov were practically inseparable, according to sources. They discussed how to carry on making money on tenders for the chemical concern. And now Niyazlyev’s arrest has messed up all their plans.

Serdar from the Ministry of National Security who is responsible for Turkmenhimiya and his bosses in Fourth Department of the ministry have decided to lie low for the time being. They have always taken a cut in all the schemes, and are now hoping that this won’t attract the attention of the prosecutor’s office.

Niyazlyev was sacked after a number of critical articles published by about the excessive level of corruption in Turkmenhimiya. He was quietly placed under house arrest in September.

It emerged then that an inspection was underway with regard to the former head of the state concern and would probably lead to a criminal case. But Niyazlyev tried to use his contacts. He asked his cousin Batyr Niyazlyev, Turkmenistan’s former ambassador to Russia, for help. On November 10, Batyr was relieved of his post as ambassador.