Kazakh President Fires Head of Energy Giant Following Riots

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Kazakhstan's president has announced plans to fire the head of the state energy firm, after two days of deadly rioting between police and fired oil workers.

After making a brief visit to the western oil-producing Mangistau region Thursday, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said he will fire Timur Kulibayev, the president's son-in-law and the head of the company that owns energy giant Kazmunaigaz. President Nazarbayev accused the firm's management of mishandling the strike, which erupted into riots last week that left at least 16 people dead and scores of others injured.

Kulibayev is a billionaire and one of the richest men in Kazakhstan. His dismissal also threatens to disrupt the country's succession plan, as Kulibayev was considered a top candidate to eventually replace his 71-year-old father-in-law as president.

Mr. Nazarbayev has been Kazakhstan's only president since the republic declared independence from the former Soviet Union 20 years ago.

Kazakh officials have invited experts from the United Nations to come to the area to take part in the investigation of the violence between the strikers and police.