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MI6 leaks secret document to Kazakhstan after US investigates oil comp. bribes

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Revolt426:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5489212.ece

MI6 officers allegedly leak oil dossier to Kazakhstan

TWO serving MI6 officers have allegedly leaked confidential information to a firm of private consultants with links to the family of the president of Kazakhstan.

The consultants are said to have been commissioned to obtain the information at a time when the American justice department was investigating allegations of bribes paid by American oil companies to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh president, and his top officials.

A 300-page report, said to have been prepared by the consultants, purports to summarise confidential MI6 files on political and economic issues affecting the oil-rich state.

One MI6 officer is said to have divulged that MI6 was “closely observing” the role of Hurricane Hydrocarbons, a Canadian oil company, and financial arrangements involving oilfields in Kazakhstan. A second MI6 officer is alleged to have revealed information that the service held on Akezhan Kazhegeldin, the former Kazakh prime minister. The report also contains information that it claims was given by Scotland Yard detectives.

The leaked document has been circulating in Washington for several months. Lawyers with knowledge of the case accept that the authors of the report may have embellished details of their contacts with law enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yesterday a Whitehall security official said the report did not appear to match MI6’s own records. Arman Baisuanov, a counsellor at the Kazakhstan embassy in London, denied that his government had been involved in any inappropriate or illegal activity.

Mike Gapes is chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee which is responsible to parliament for overseeing the affairs of MI6. He said he was alarmed at suggestions that serving British intelligence officers might have leaked information that could have found its way into the hands of people whom the agency was monitoring.

“If true, these allegations raise very serious concerns and I expect the government to investigate them,” he said.

The Sunday Times has seen a copy of a report by Global Options Management, a firm of private security consultants with offices in Washington and, previously, in London.

The company is chaired by Alexander Mirtchev, who is an economic adviser to the Kazakhstan government and a director of the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Political opponents of the Kazakh regime claim that Mirtchev is Nazarbayev’s “point man” in Washington and that he helps to manage some of the Kazakh leader’s wealth.

Mirtchev last week declined to comment. Matt Lauer, his spokesman, said: “Alexander Mirtchev is a respected business consultant based in the United States who rigorously abides by the laws and regulations of any country in which he operates.”

Privately, aides said Mirtchev was “aware” of a report. But, shown a copy of the relevant extracts of the report, they declined to comment publicly.

Mirtchev has admitted in the past that he has had dealings with Dariga Nazarbayeva, the president’s daughter who is an opera singer. But he denies that his firm had been hired by her to compile the document.

Rakhat Aliyev, the president’s former son-in-law, has claimed that Nazarbayev has diverted billions of dollars in state assets and has long taken commissions from foreign companies doing business in Kazakhstan.

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