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American official claims extensive corruption

The corruption in Kazakhstan is spreading like cancer, claimed the US’s OSCE ambassador. Simultaneously, the Norwegian PM voiced Statoil’s and Norwegian industry’s interest in the country.

Corruption is spreading like cancer in Kazakhstan, and only a democratic development can prevent it, stated Stephan Minikes, the United States Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSSE).

«The cancer that is eating through your country is corruption,» Minikes said at a meeting at Alma Ata Tuesday.

The uncharacteristic harsh statement came at the same time as the Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is visiting the country. During the visit, Bondevik stated that Statoil is interested in returning to Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea.

«Statoil has plans and is interested in carry out certain projects in the Kazakhstani part of the Caspian shelf,» Bondevik said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Bondevik expressed this view at a meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbajev in the capital Astana. Bondevik also participated in the opening of a new Statoil office in the city.

Minikes made his statements at the same time as a court in New York prepares the prosecution against the American businessman James Giffen. He allegedly bribed the Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbajev and the country’s former oil minister with approximately NOK 530 million (USD 78 million). Nazarbajev rejected the accusations earlier this month.

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