Very Nice, Bolat! Brother of Kazakhstan Dictator Buys Epic Plaza Spread

Family ties to Nursultan A. Nazarbayev (pictured), the only president in Kazakhstan’s 17-year post-U.S.S.R. history, are not necessarily enough to guarantee permanent affluence. The state charged his daughter’s ex-husband with kidnapping—simply retribution, the ex-son-in-law has said, for his own presidential ambitions.

But it’s definitely good to be the president’s brother. According to a February deed filed in city records just this week, Bolat Nazarbayev and his wife have paid around $20 million for a corner unit facing Central Park at the Plaza.

Mr. Nazarbayev (whose name is spelled Nazarbaev in some city records) did not respond to a request for an interview, but his representatives act massively quickly. A few minutes after this reporter e-mailed his legal adviser, whose number is listed on the deed, his real estate broker called from a plane taking off for London.

The agent, Adam Modlin of the Modlin Group, wouldn’t discuss the deal, but said the apartment is 4,000 square feet with four bedrooms, a dining room, a living room and a library, all facing the park. When asked what Mr. Nazarbayev does for a living, he said, “I don’t know. It’s not something we discussed! I swear to God. It was a quick visit and a quick transaction.”

Later, the legal adviser, Marc Isaacs, said his firm, Isaacs & Associates, doesn’t discuss professional and family issues. “No, we don’t. We’ve developed a reputation through the years of dealing with high net worth clients, foreign investors, relatively or very important individuals, both in finance and government and entertainment.”

His firm typically prepares four-to-six-page memos for clients on big real estate decisions, like $20 million condo purchases. When asked about Kazakhstan’s bad corruption ratings, Mr. Isaacs said his firm does some vetting. Still, The Times said earlier this year that President Nazarbayev “runs the country like a family business-and-television empire.” His brother’s role there isn’t clear, but according to a 2001 report from George Soros’ EurasiaNet Web site, he’s involved in oil production and transportation. “I would say any successful client I’ve had has been called good and bad,” Mr. Isaacs said.

According to a separate source, the apartment was bought for Mr. Nazarbayev’s son, who apparently attends school here. Mr. Modlin would only say that it makes sense for any family of that status to have a nice New York apartment—“even if you come to New York once or twice a year.”

Incidentally, for an article last month on a new Upper East Side condo for the Kremlin’s favorite designer, Valentin Yudashkin, Mr. Modlin told The Observer that one of the fashion mogul’s oligarch friends said he wanted an apartment just like it. The friend turned out to be this Kazakh.

Page Six on Tuesday had an item on Mr. Nazarbayev’s purchase.

mabelson@observer.com Very Nice, Bolat! Brother of Kazakhstan Dictator Buys Epic Plaza Spread