Fighting corruption Turkmen-style: President’s relative owns $1M worth wristwatches
Tales of the luxurious lifestyle of the relatives of Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, and of their influence in the country are the stuff of legend. Some say that the president’s sisters, their husbands and children – the head of state’s nephews – have taken over all the major businesses and monopolized the supply of foodstuffs, medicines, building materials, and more, making a profit not only from the commercial mark-up, but also from converting hard currency at the state exchange rate, which is six times lower than the market rate. There’s some truth in this, but it’s not all to be believed. People also talk about the expensive property owned by Berdimuhamedov’s relatives abroad, in particular in the Emirates, and about their business projects there.
It’s not so easy to check out these rumors – the United Arab Emirates do not publish their property registries and other information about businesses, which is why the country is considered “a haven for the corrupt” from around the world.
But it is possible to assess the luxurious lifestyle of Berdimuhamedov’s relatives from indirect evidence, for example, posts on social media. Our hero today is Kemal Begnazarovich Rejepov. He’s a relative of the president through marriage, not a direct relation. He’s the son of the brother of the husband of Berdimuhamedov’s sister; in other words, Kemal Rejepov is the nephew of Berdimuhamedov’s brother-in-law, i.e. of his sister’s husband. Confused? Watch our video (in Russian)!
Kemal Rejepov is the most brazen of all Berdimuhamedov’s relatives and has no qualms flaunting his wealth. This is what we have managed to identify as his:
These watches alone are worth more than a million, but he’s got a bunch of “simpler” models, worth between $14,000 and $16,000.
Kemal loves expensive cars as well as luxury watches. One of his recent acquisitions is a BMW X4 M Competition. The starting price is $80,000 for the basic model, but would that suit someone like Kemal Rejepov? This BMW only came out in January this year, so don’t go thinking Kemal bought it at the car market in Ashgabat. No, it’s hot off the conveyor belt.
Our hero’s other cars include a BMW 540, a Toyota Land Cruiser 5.7 VXR, a Lexus GX 460 and others.
Kemal Rejepov also has a taste for fashionable clothes, expensive Vertu telephones and all kinds of accessories, such as brand-name belts.
We don’t know where Kemal Rejepov works and what he does, or whether he works at all (maybe some of our readers know and would like to share their knowledge with us), but we do know that it’s impossible to earn that kind of money honestly in Turkmenistan.
Kemal Rejepov is not the president’s only relative living a lavish lifestyle. In 2018 we discovered that Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev, known as Guga, has a watch worth one million dollars. Guga is the son-in-law of Berdimuhamedov’s other sister, Gulnabat Dovletova. It emerged later that Guga is a humble project engineer, second rank, in the Turkmen Gas Supply association, part of the Turkmengaz state concern. On the 27th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence, Berdimuhamedov presented his relative with a medal “For Love of the Fatherland”.
This is how the president’s relatives live, while thousands of people in Ashgabat and other regions are ready to fight each other for a bottle of foul, stinking cotton oil. The state really is for the people, and we all know which ones…
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