Two of Kazakhstan's extended family quits from state oil and gas companies

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Two of Kazakhstan's extended family quits from state oil and gas companies

NUR-SULTAN, Jan 15, Reuters - Two members of the former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev's extended family resigned from the leadership of state oil and gas shipping companies, the Central Asian nation's sovereign fund said on Saturday.

Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's leader for three decades before his resignation in 2019, retained sweeping powers until his successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, took over from Nazarbayev as chairman of the Security Council in the wake of violent unrest.

The 81-year-old former leader has not appeared in public since the protests on Jan. 4, and Tokayev's critical comments about him have prompted suggestions that the two had fallen out before Tokayev sidelined his former patron.

On Saturday the sovereign fund Samruk-Kazyna said that Kairat Sharipbayev and Dimash Dossanov had quit as CEOs of state oil pipeline company KazTransOil and natural gas pipeline operator QazaqGaz.

Sharipbayev is married to the eldest daughter of the former president, Dariga Nazarbayeva, her son said on social media. Neither Sharipbayev nor Dariga Nazarbayeva have commented on their relationship. Dossanov is the husband of Aliya Nazarbayeva, Nazarbayev's youngest daughter.

Samruk-Kazyna gave no reasons for their resignation.

Tokayev said this week he wanted Nazarbayev's associates to share their wealth with the public by making regular donations to a new charity foundation.

The rise in the price of car fuel in western Mangistau province caused protests in the oil-rich nation last week.

On Saturday, the authorities said they had arrested a deputy energy minister and several other officials who they believe were responsible for the unjustified price increase.