Turkmenistan’s Ambassador to the US Meret Orazov has acquired real estate worth $6 million during his 18-year tenure in the US, according to an investigation by journalists Bayram Shikhmuradov and Ruslan Myatiev for Turkmen.news.
Orazov bought his first house in Washington in 2002 through Oronco Investment & Development Corp., a company run by his wife Irina Orazova and his classmate Mikhail Brodsky, paying $278,000, although its market value should have been higher. Over the 18 years, the Orazov family acquired four houses, three apartments and a tract of forest on an island near the Canadian border.
The Turkmen ambassador’s monthly salary is currently between $6,000-8,000. In addition to the salary, Orazov also receives allowances for combining multiple positions – he is simultaneously Turkmenistan’s ambassador to the US, Canada and Mexico. Neither Meret Orazov nor his wife have ever officially engaged in business. Unless, of course, you count his wife’s formal involvement in companies founded specifically in order to launder his income from corrupt sources.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Turkmenistan also allocates funds for the diplomats’ residences – the state was effectively renting accommodation for the ambassador from the ambassador himself. From only one such rental, over 14 years Orazov “earned” nearly $700,000 from his country’s taxpayer money. In addition to renting out residential property to himself, he rented it out to other embassy staff.
The investigation notes that for many years, Orazov has been violating Article 42 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, which prohibits diplomatic agents from engaging in commercial activity for personal gain during their tenure. Article 12 of Turkmenistan’s own law “On Diplomatic Service” similarly prohibits diplomatic staff from engaging in commercial activity personally or through proxies.