Kazakhstan Crackdown Forces 106 More Crypto Mines to Close

Notable political and business figures were said to be behind some of the mines, including the brother of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

AccessTimeIconMar 15, 2022 at 9:58 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 15, 2022 at 6:47 p.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

Kazakhstan's crackdown on illegal crypto mines has forced another 106 miners to stop operations, according to a government statement Tuesday.

  • Following investigations by the country's financial monitoring agency and other state bodies, 55 of the mines closed voluntarily and 51 were forced to shut down, the statement said. The 51 are suspected of tax and customs evasion and placing equipment in special economic zones without permission, according to the statement.
  • The inspections revealed that some notable political and business figures were involved in crypto mining. According to the statement, they included Bolat Nazarbayev, the brother of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev; Alexander Klebanov, the chairman of Central Asian Electric Power Corp., which provides electricity to more than 2 million people, according to its website; and Kairat Itegmenov, listed by Forbes as Kazakhstan's 17th richest man.
  • The central Asian country has been dealing with severe electricity shortages since autumn 2021, in part due to an influx of crypto miners from China but also because of infrastructure failures. The government has decided to crack down on illegal mines to deal with the energy problems.
  • In total, the financial monitoring agency has opened 25 criminal cases and seized 67,000 machines valued at 100 billion Kazakh tenge ($193 million), according to statement.
  • In late February, the government said it busted 202 megawatts worth of illegal crypto mines.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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