Since marrying one of the seven daughters of the president of Tajikistan, a young businessman has built an empire that stretches across the country. An OCCRP investigation show how unlimited political power leads to business success in one of Central Asia’s poorest countries.
Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia. And it is one of the region’s poorest, depending heavily on remittances from millions of laborers who work seasonally in Russia.
But its troubles aren’t just due to its difficult terrain or its Soviet past. Tajikistan is ruled by an authoritarian president who awards himself grand titles that literally place him above the constitution.
In such a country, family connections can mean everything. The stories below show how a young man who married into President Emomali Rahmon’s family became a leading businessman. They also reveal what happens to those who cross him.
Faroz, the company the young man built, has grown so big that it’s difficult to name an industry where it’s not present. With interests from oil and minerals to customs terminals and ski resorts, there’s hardly a market it doesn’t rule. It even manages to collect mysterious payments from foreign companies in exchange for valuable favors.
Read the stories below for an in-depth look at how a modern kleptocracy works.