Troubled Waters

SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/REUTERS

OIL FUTURES: Kazakhstan's authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbayev

A private company is working smoothly with the strongman government of an oil-rich nation. But when the company makes a move to sell major assets, the government decides it wants more control over its black gold. The company balks — and finds itself accused of tax evasion.

Though it sounds like Russia's Yukos saga, this scenario is playing itself out in neighboring Kazakhstan between the government of authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbayev and British energy giant BG Group. On July 19, citing the results of a March audit, Kazakhstan's financial police accused the company's local subsidiary, BG Karachaganak, of...

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