Kazakhstan accuses businessman of inciting protests in coup plot

ASTANA (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s security service accused a detained businessman with Russian ties of financing recent anti-government protests as part of a plot to seize power.

Tokhtar Tuleshov, best known as the chief executive of one of the Central Asian nation’s largest breweries, has been imprisoned since January, but authorities had not up to now given details of any charges.

“His plan included destabilizing the situation in the country by creating flashpoints, organizing protests and mass unrest,” National Security Committee (KNB) spokesman Ruslan Karasev told reporters on Monday.

“We have proof that protests against the so-called land reform that took place in Atyrau, Astana, Almaty, Uralsk, Kyzylorda had been instigated and financed by Tuleshov.”

Tuleshov’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Karasev said the KNB had detained several suspected accomplices of Tuleshov over the weekend, including two colonels in charge of two separate military bases.

Tuleshov ran the Kazakh office of a Russia-based organization called the Centre for the Analysis of Terrorist Threats.

Its website,, published anti-Western and pro-Russian articles, including one piece alleging Islamic State militants were sending reinforcements to Ukrainian nationalists.

Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov