Malaysia

Daniyar Nazarbayev now in Sandhurst, despite doubts over academic background

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Daniyar Nazarbayev has enrolled in the famed Sandhurst Military College since last year, despite doubts over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s future son-in-law’s academic qualifications to enter Columbia University in the United States previously. 

The Malaysian Insider understands from family sources that the 24-year-old Kazakh is in the commissioning course for regular army officers which takes 48 weeks. 

“Daniyar is in Sandhurst now. They accepted him last year,” a source told The Malaysian Insider

According to the college’s website, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Surrey is where “all officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibilities of leading soldiers.” 

“More than 80 per cent of Officer Cadets are university graduates, but some arrive with A-Levels or equivalent. Others are serving soldiers who have been selected for Officer training and some come from overseas, having been chosen by their own armies to train at the world famous Academy. 

“It is not possible for anyone to undertake training at their own private expense,” the website said. 

Daniyar’s mother, Maira had denied allegations yesterday that she and her son are being sued by her multi-millionaire husband, and has maintained that her marriage is still intact. 

She also said her son’s engagement to Najib’s daughter is still on despite the flurry of allegations which has surfaced from court documents filed by her estranged husband in a New York court. 

On Tuesday, several foreign newspapers including the New York Post reported that Daniyar was being sued together with his mother for cheating his stepfather Bolat Nazarbayez, brother to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He also allegedly fudged his academic qualifications to get into Columbia University in the United States. 

Daniyar was engaged to Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa in a glittering ceremony here in June last year. 

“There’s never been a day when I’ve had a fight with my husband,” Maira Nazarbayev told the New York Post in an interview published on Friday. 

“I consider myself married and in a good relationship with my husband. And I’ve never seen a document related to divorce. I’ve never signed anything nor have I received anything,” she added. 

The New York Post had cited court papers filed by Bolat Nazarbayez in New York, accusing Daniyar of cheating the former out of a US$20 million (RM63 million) condominium home on Wall Street besides landing in the top-rated university using “fraudulent and fabricated” paperwork from a high school in Kazakhstan he did not attend. 

Daniyar, who is said to have met Nooryana in Columbia, graduated from the Ivy League institution in 2010. 

The daily also reported that Maira had changed Daniyar’s surname from Kesikbayev to Nazarbayev to match the Kazakh president’s after marrying Bolat in 2001. 

Maira said Bolat was “in shock” to learn about the lawsuit when she spoke to him on the phone a few weeks ago, and that he had indicated he had not authorised any court action to be taken against her or Daniyar. 

She also denied allegations that Daniyar was a high school dropout and had cheated to get into Columbia University, saying that it was all fabrications and lies. 

Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs had dismissed as unrelated to Najib’s leadership allegations the coalition chief’s future son-in-law cheated his stepfather out of a RM63 million home and lied to gain entrance into Columbia University. 

Lawmakers from the ruling coalition had told The Malaysian Insider earlier this week the issue was a “private matter” and would not affect the Umno president’s ability to govern. 

This is not the first time Najib’s ties with Kazakhstan have come under the spotlight. Indonesia’s top newspaper Kompas had alleged in August last year that Najib’s future son-in-law’s mother had links to the Russian mafia. 

“Maira Nazarbayev, who lives a lifestyle a la Imelda Marcos, supposedly has links to the Russian mafia,” the paper had said in a column published on August 4, 2011. 

However, the newspaper did not substantiate its claims. Najib denied the allegation and the newspaper has also apologised for the article. 

Maira also said in the statement that the family has a pre-planned vacation in Europe over the next few weeks and she will “spend this quiet time with my family and loved ones.”

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