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The trial of the former Minister of Economy of Kazakhstan. What Bishimbayev did while his wife was dying in a restaurant

Photo copyright: Reuters

  • Author, Aysymbat Tokoeva
  • Position, BBC
  • April 23, 2024

The trial of former Minister of Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev, accused of torturing and murdering his wife Saltanat Nukenova, continues in Astana. At the trial, it turned out that he called the fortune teller more than six times and corresponded with an acquaintance while Nukenova lay unconscious in the restaurant. A video was also found on his phone, according to which that same evening the former official asked his wife about possible connections with another man.

On April 22, judge Aizhan Kulbayeva received the password from the defendant’s phone and was able to begin examining the evidence at the court hearing. Previously, Bishimbayev repeatedly refused to provide his password.

The judge played 12 videos recorded by the former official on the evening of November 9, before Nukenova’s death. The phone was in the hands of the judge; the picture was not shown to the participants of the hearing – only to the brother and lawyers of the deceased.

In all the videos, Bishimbayev insults his wife, addressing her as “trash” and “bitch.” “I just want the truth. Did you fuck with Raimbek Batalov? Did you sleep with him? Say: “I slept with him,” Bishimbayev says in one of the videos.

The former official initially claimed that he “did not remember” the origin of the recordings and suggested that they had been “sent to him via WhatsApp.” Bishimbayev later admitted that he himself filmed these videos.

He noted in court that the cause of the conflicts between him and Nukenova was the girl’s “past relationship.” According to him, before marrying him, she dated a married man, a well-known businessman in Kazakhstan.

Local media assumed, that we are talking about the Chairman of the Board of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs “Atameken” Raimbek Batalov. The businessman himself denies connection with Nukenova.

I corresponded and called the fortune teller six times

image copyrightKazakh Supreme Court

Photo caption: The judge showed the deceased’s brother Aitbek Amangeldy and lawyer Zhanna Urazbakhova the contents of the defendant’s phone

On April 23, judge Aizhan Kulbayeva continued inspection of Bishimbayev’s phone. The judge released the defendant’s call history.

On the night of Saltanat Nukenova’s death, Bishimbayev called the fortune teller several times, written down as “Gulnar Shym.”

“While Baizhanov (the second defendant in the case, accused of concealment – BBC) was going down, I called her, since I couldn’t find a pulse, I wanted to ask what was happening. She didn’t answer, then she answered, said to call an ambulance and hung up. I told her: “You said that she should wake up in the evening, now I can’t wake her up or find a pulse,” Bishimbayev told the court.

Moreover, the judge checked the former official’s correspondence on the phone. According to the records, the accused not only called the fortune teller, but wrote to her and asked about Nukenova’s condition, since she did not regain consciousness.

“You write to a person who is several thousand kilometers away to find out if she is in herself.” [супруга]? Have you seen for yourself what condition she is in? And so she writes: “yes, in herself.” And did you believe this correspondence?” the judge clarified.

Bishimbayev answered in the affirmative. “Yes, I believed it. Trusted her [гадалке]”, he explained.

According to the call history, on the night of Nukenova’s death, the brother of the deceased Aitbek Amangeldy repeatedly called the former official; his calls are listed as missed.

I wrote to a friend “Are you free?”

An ambulance was called to the BAU restaurant where Saltanat Nukenova died on November 9 last year at 19:55.

The judge read out Bishimbayev’s correspondence that day. It turned out that the ex-minister had contacted two women half an hour earlier.

The first contact was blogger Gulnara Nasyrbekova, the second was an unknown girl whom the former minister wrote down as “Yulia super.”

Bishimbayev began corresponding with her on the morning of November 9, asking her: “How are you?” According to the judge, the dialogue continued in the evening – at 19:24 the former official wrote to the girl: “What’s going on? Free?”

At 19:36 the girl replied: “I did eyelashes. At what time?”. To which there was no response from Bishimbayev.

In court, the former official refused to explain who this girl was and what relationship he had with her.

Photo caption Representatives of the Kazakh diaspora in Krakow took part in the “Justice for Saltanat” rally on April 21

He was jealous, forbade work and controlled

The trial of former Minister of Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev in Astana began on March 27. He is accused of murdering with particular cruelty and torturing his wife, astrologer Saltanat Nukenova.

According to investigators, Bishimbayev beat and strangled his wife for several hours in the VIP booth of a restaurant he owned.

Nukenova died as a result of a traumatic brain injury. The examination discovered she had a brain hematoma in 230 ml of blood – this is considered a fatal indicator. The examination concluded that Nukenova’s death occurred 6-8 hours before the ambulance arrived.

At the trial, the assistant of the deceased Anara Tasova toldthat Bishimbayev monitored his wife by geolocation and forbade her to work. Nukenova came to one of her meetings with her assistant with “purple” bruises and marks of strangulation. In another conversation, the girl admitted that her husband was “tyrannizing” her and she was afraid that “he would kill her.”

Brother Nukenovoy Aitbek Amangeldy showed in court, photographs of the beaten sister. He said he received the pictures from his sister in March last year.

“When she sent the photos, she herself said: “Save them.” […] She explained to me that she wanted to write a statement to the police against Kuandyk for assault,” Amangeldy said.

He added that in 2023, Nukenova left Bishimbayev about eight times.

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