The holding Samruk-Kazyna which runs almost all national companies in Kazakhstan is aimed at preventing its companies from falling under international sanctions. To achieve this goal, the company’s internal compliance service examines any agreement that the holding’s members are going to sign, according to Dauren Akshalov, head of the compliance service in Samruk-Kazyna.
As the official noted, the service is implementing a wide range of tasks and the task of preventing the risk of secondary sanctions is one of them.
“This is sanctions compliance. When we are going to sign a contract, we have to make sure that a potential partner isn’t subject to international sanctions. We check the international databases and notify the management or even not allow the company to sign a contract with that potential partner. We must take rapid actions because of the risk that any such transactions might be blocked by local or foreign commercial banks. The risk of secondary sanctions is also quite high. Our job is to prevent this,” Akshalov said.
He also said that some entities from the country’s quasi-state sector do not have compliance officers and the service he heads is always ready to help them.
In addition, the compliance service identifies risks associated with corruption within the holding, collusions, affiliate transactions and deals with the related parties or offshore companies. The service is aimed at identifying final beneficiaries and checking the reliability of counterparts.
“Currently, we’ve been doing a lot to introduce to the procurement system an automated system which will be able to check the reliability of third parties. This approach would allow us to better know who we cooperate with and operate in the way all big international companies do. We are trying to learn who is the final beneficiary of a counterpart company. If we see risks of corruption or lobbying, we inform executive management and the board. They are in power to make a relevant decision,” said Akshalov. The official also noted that the compliance service can only recommend and has no veto power.
“The information we provide to the top management is just a recommendation. But it is part of the entire process. It is supposed that our recommendations are taken with understanding and based on the company’s risk appetite,” he said. For example, Samruk-Kazyna said that it is not going to raise funds in Russian rubles, although once it was a popular tool for the entire holding because of its low-interest rate. However, the current situation is far away from that attitude. Today, the risk of being punished with sanctions for interaction with Russian banks is too high, which is why the company has taken this decision.