Firm Profile > AEQUITAS > Almaty, Kazakhstan

ALMATY 050000

Kazakhstan > Dispute resolution Tier 1

AEQUITAS focuses primarily on complex multijurisdictional commercial disputes, as well as local Kazakh commercial arbitration cases. In 2019, the team became a participant at the Astana International Financial Center. Valikhan Shaikenov splits his time between Almaty and Berlin, and leads on major pro bono work. Ardak Idayatova, who was recently promoted to the partnership, primarily focuses on construction arbitration and litigation. Managing partner Olga Chentsova is an expert in international arbitration cases, particularly those concerning oil and gas, mining and construction.

Practice head(s):

Valikhan Shaikenov; Ardak Idayatova

Other key lawyers:

Olga Chentsova

Key clients

TransGroup Systems L.P.

Kazakhstan > Real estate and construction (including projects) Tier 1

AEQUITAS excels in advising on the construction of major industrial developments, social facilities and large residential complexes. It handles mandates on a standalone basis and also frequently acts as local counsel to international firms on construction matters. In addition to undertaking non-contentious construction work, a significant portion of the workload involves representing clients in construction disputes. Elsewhere, the firm is noted for its work on structured transactions involving land plots, as well as securing obligations to foreign lenders. One of the names to note is Nurlan Sholanov, who primarily acts for clients on project finance transactions and infrastructure projects, including the development of renewable energy sources. Olga Chentsova is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Ardak Idayatova

Other key lawyers:

Nurlan Sholanov; Olga Chentsova

Key clients

Syndicate of lenders comprising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Eurasian Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank

Eurochem Karatau LLP

Kazakhstan > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

AEQUITAS advises international clients on local regulations, securities work, investment portfolios, and complex projects. The team also has a strong track record in cooperating with international law firms on IPOs. Head of the banking and finance team. Nurlan Sholanov supervises on key project finance matters. The group works frequently with the Astana International Financial Centre.

Practice head(s):

Nurlan Sholanov


‘Very responsive and diligent. Great team and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Operative and exhaustive responses to the client’s queries, ability to work within the hard timelines and under pressure, detailed elaboration of a subject matter.’

Key clients

Gazprombank JSC

Kazakhstan > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

The corporate and M&A team at AEQUITAS frequently advises local Kazakh companies on listings on the London and Kazakhstan Stock Exchanges. Additionally, it has also acted on major inbound acquisitions, the establishment of Kazakh subsidiaries, and the development of important corporate legislation. The team handles the full range of M&A-related work, from due diligence to applications for the approval of transactions by anti-monopoly government agencies. Nurlan Sholanov supervises on project finance matters and is particularly well-versed in M&A and private equity issues. Natalya Braynina leads on M&A, and Yuliya Chumachenko is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Nurlan Sholanov; Natalya Braynina; Yuliya Chumachenko


‘The legal services provided by AEQUITAS have always been and remain at a decent and high professional level. Deep knowledge of their profession, speed and customer focus – all this adequately characterise the AEQUITAS team.’

‘Professional, structured approach to every project. Clear understanding of the client expectations & adaptation of the deliverable in accordance to the client needs.’

‘Very responsive and diligent. Great team and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Proactive approach, timely execution of any project.’

Key clients

Siemens LLP

The Kuwait Food Company

Marks & Spencer

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Kazakhstan > Energy and natural resources Tier 2

The team at AEQUITAS frequently assists international law firms and corporations seeking to invest into Kazakhstan's oil and gas and natural resources markets. The group is also experienced in labour and antitrust issues and subsoil user procurement mandates; it was the first local firm to draft subsoil contracts. Managing partner Olga Chentsova was notably involved in drafting the petroleum and subsoil use law; he and Natalya Braynina lead on handling key matters including corporate and environmental issues, subsoil use, litigation and arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Olga Chentsova; Natalya Braynina

Key clients

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

China Rising Energy International Co., Ltd.

Zhetysu Volframy LLP

Kazakhstan > Tax and customs Tier 3

AEQUITAS focuses primarily on advising international and Kazakh clients in the construction sector on tax-related matters concerning major industrial facilities, infrastructure projects, and residential complexes. Olga Chentsova and Nurlan Sholanov are the practice heads.

AEQUITAS, a Kazakh national law firm, was founded in 1993. One of the founding partners was Professor Yuri G. Bassin, Doctor of Law, a forefather of civil law science in Kazakhstan.

In the early 90s, AEQUITAS was one of the first firm’s to provide legal support both to foreign investors coming to Kazakhstan’s market and to those starting domestic businesses. The first joint ventures with foreign participation in Kazakhstan were organized with AEQUITAS providing the legal support.

AEQUITAS is one of Kazakhstan’s leading law firms acknowledged in the global legal services market. For many years, authoritative legal guides, such as Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal, have rated AEQUITAS,  its partners and associates as the country’s most recommended law firm.

AEQUITAS’ clients are companies active in the leading sectors of economy from more than 50 countries, including major international corporations, companies representing world famous brands, banks and financial institutions, most of them have worked with AEQUITAS for many years.

AEQUITAS lawyers have been actively participating in the development and improvement of the most important legislative acts governing market relations and business activities in Kazakhstan. This allows the firm not only to keep abreast of potential amendments in legislation, but also to influence, to a certain extent, the making of the rules of the game.

The firm has offices in Almaty and Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan).

In 2019, AEQUITAS has become an AIFC Participant, and is doing business in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as AEQUITAS Law Firm (AIFC Branch) and providing legal services under the commercial license No. AFSA-O-CD-2019-0063.  The branch office is located in the same building as the AIFC Court and International Arbitration Center.

Our values

Our values are the key principles our practice and team relationships are built upon.

We take pride in unswervingly discharging our responsibilities when helping clients and business partners achieve their goals. We take pride in being trusted. We are appreciated for high quality services, honesty, transparency and efficiency. We aspire for leadership, upholding traditions and finding new solutions, and seek to meet and exceed expectations.

We value our people and care about them. We trust each other. We believe in each one’s personal contribution to the general cause. Our firm is blessed with an atmosphere of mutual respect, team spirit and everybody’s high involvement, which are the fundamentals of our continuing success.

Over more than 28 years of its successful practice, AEQUITAS has accumulated respectable professional experience and theoretical knowledge in the areas most sought after when doing business in Kazakhstan, which enables its lawyers to navigate clients through the most complex legal issues. World famous companies trust and cooperate with AEQUITAS.

The key areas in which AEQUITAS, year after year, enjoys deserved recognition as the leading and most recommended law firm in Kazakhstan, include business law, corporate law, banking and finance, natural resources and environmental, labor & employment, and M&A.

Certain areas of the firm’s practice have altered – AEQUITAS has always been quick to respond to changes in the legal regulation and economy and seeks to develop and enhance the areas of practice most in demand by clients during certain historical periods of time. In the 90’s the firm’s important area of practice was legal support of privatization projects. AEQUITAS lawyers were advising the largest foreign investors and governmental agencies in the course for privatization of the country’s major enterprises and facilities. In recent years, the firm’s actively developing areas of practice are healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and the potentially popular – public-private partnership.

The firm has gained a most positive reputation in such areas as insurance, mass media, customs, and many others.

AEQUITAS lawyers are also ready to assist individual clients in matrimonial and inheritance law matters, providing services that involve the drafting of various contracts and court documents, as well as client representation in court.

Business law. A large portion of AEQUITAS ’s day-to-day practice comprises services relating to the legal support of its clients’ businesses. The firm’s lawyers are assisting clients in diverse matters — from the drafting of contracts to due diligence of companies.

Corporate law. AEQUITAS’ corporate law practice started at the same time as the adoption of the new Kazakhstan’s legislative acts on legal entities, and with the establishment of Kazakhstan’s first joint ventures with foreign capital participation in 1993.

Banking and finance. AEQUITAS ’s long-standing clients are the world’s leading investment and commercial banks, state-owned organizations, international payment systems, institutional investors and other players in the capital markets.

Environmental. AEQUITAS’ environmental practice is one of Kazakhstan’s strongest. The key clients using aequitas environmental legal services are the leading local and international companies active in the construction, industrial production and subsoil use sectors in Kazakhstan.

Natural resources. AEQUITAS is particularly proud
of its subsoil use practice. AEQUITAS ’s experience in the natural resources area is domestically unique, as the firm partook in the national-significance projects and projects completely new to Kazakhstan.

Labor and employment. AEQUITAS’ labor law practice is the best in Kazakhstan. The firm’s lawyers are advising on most intricate issues unregulated by local legislation. AEQUITAS possesses extensive experience in defending both employers and employees, in and out of court.

M&A. AEQUITAS’ M&A practice was launched together with the privatization of the key entities of Kazakhstan’s economy in the early 90s. The firm’s legal support accompanied the largest subsoil deals in Kazakhstan.

Competition and antitrust. AEQUITAS’ antitrust practice dates back more than ten years. The firm boasts dozens of successful approvals of M&A transactions significant to Kazakhstan’s economy. AEQUITAS’ lawyers are perfectly familiar with the legislation and the law-application and judicial practice and can address most complex aspects of the national and supra-national antitrust legislation application.

Regulatory compliance. The advent of large foreign companies to the Kazakhstani market increasingly brings the term ‘compliance’ into practice. Although management of legal and compliance risks is still an under explored domain, AEQUITAS has amassed a considerable experience in this area.

Construction and real estate is one of AEQUITAS’ oldest and most active areas of practice, accumulating the firm’s impressive experience. AEQUITAS has contributed its legal support to projects involving construction of major industrial and social facilities and large residential compounds in Kazakhstan.

Infrastructure projects. Public-Private Partnership (PPP). AEQUITAS is regularly supporting infrastructure projects of great importance for different sectors of the Kazakhstan economy: energy, transportation, mining, etc. Regardless of the industry and project complexity, the firm’s lawyers possess sufficient experience and knowledge to promptly render legal services necessary to implement the project. Taking into account the state policy pursued in this area and the clients’ interest, AEQUITAS is paying most serious attention to PPP matters.

Healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals. Legal services in the field of healthcare is AEQUITAS’s actively developing area of practice. The firm’s lawyers are rendering all-round support to large pharmaceutical companies coming to the Kazakhstan market for their business establishment and development.

Industry and trade. AEQUITAS has amassed noteworthy expertise advising clients active in the production, distribution, marketing and sale of consumer and industrial goods, including contract drafting and negotiation, client representation before governmental agencies and dispute settlement.

Transport and merchant shipping. The firm regularly advises clients on a variety of issues pertaining to legal regulation of transportation activities in Kazakhstan. AEQUITAS is one of the few local law firms possessing experience in the merchant shipping area.

Agriculture. In the past several years, AEQUITAS’ lawyers have been advising the leading banks and financial companies, such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, HSBC France, as well as major local agricultural producers, on various issues of trade finance secured by grain and cotton collaterals in Kazakhstan.

Dispute resolution. AEQUITAS has a successful dispute resolution practice, representing clients in the Kazakh courts at all levels, including in cases involving financial instruments, debt restructuring, construction contracts, employment, transportation and insurance.

IT and communications. AEQUITAS’ clients, in differing IT and communications projects, have been the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and major international cellular, landline and postal operators.

Law-making. AEQUITAS’ partners and associates are engaged, on a regular basis, to participate in the law-making activities to develop new acts and improve current legislation. The Civil Code, Foreign Investment Law, Privatization Law and Petroleum Law and other Kazakh legislative acts have been developed with AEQUITAS participation.

Department Name Email Telephone
Law-Making Olga Chentsova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Construction & Real Estate, Infrastructure Projects & Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Ardak Idayatova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Corporate law, Agriculture Nurlan Sholanov +7 (727) 3 968 968
Labor & Employment, Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals, Industry & Trade, Transport & Merchant Shipping Yuliya Chumachenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Banking & Finance, Environmental, M&A Yelena Manayenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Dispute Resolution Valikhan Shaikenov +7 (727) 3 968 968
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Anton Alexeyev  photo Mr Anton Alexeyev Associate
Ms Natalya Braynina  photo Ms Natalya Braynina Partner, Head of Energy & Natural Resources
Dr Olga Chentsova  photo Dr Olga Chentsova Managing Partner
Ms Yuliya Chumachenko  photo Ms Yuliya Chumachenko Partner, Head of Labor & Employment, Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals.
Mr Alexandr Chumachenko  photo Mr Alexandr Chumachenko Senior Associate
 Kirill Greshnikov  photo Kirill Greshnikov Junior Associate
Ms Ardak Idayatova  photo Ms Ardak Idayatova Partner, Deputy Head of Dispute Resolution.Ardak Idayatova specializes in civil, contract, land,…
Dr Kulyash Ilyasova  photo Dr Kulyash Ilyasova Counsel
Mr Farukh Iminov  photo Mr Farukh Iminov Associate
Ms Yekaterina Khamidullina  photo Ms Yekaterina Khamidullina Senior Associate
Mrs Violetta Kim  photo Mrs Violetta Kim Counsel
Mr Tair Kulteleev  photo Mr Tair Kulteleev Associate, Head of AEQUITAS registration sector
Ms Yelena Manayenko  photo Ms Yelena Manayenko Partner, Head of M&A practice
Mr Valikhan Shaikenov  photo Mr Valikhan Shaikenov Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution and Arbitration practice
Ms Aislu Shaikenova  photo Ms Aislu Shaikenova Counsel
Mr Nurlan Sholanov  photo Mr Nurlan Sholanov Partner, Head of Corporate law
 Zhandaulet Sholanov  photo Zhandaulet Sholanov Associate 
Ms Larissa Yemelyanova  photo Ms Larissa Yemelyanova Senior Associate
Almaty : 18
Nur-Sultan : 1
International Bar Association (IBA)
Kazakhstan Bar Association
Ius Laboris - Global Human Resources Lawyers Alliance
Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)
Kazakhstan Petroleum Lawyers Association
TerraLex (

AEQUITAS Law Firm when carrying out its’ activities ensures compliance with the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and prevents any discrimination towards its’ employees, candidates for employment and clients. Since the local legislation does not provide for any diversity and inclusion programs in companies, AEQUITAS does not have such policies and programs. However, we support any initiatives of our employees and clients on this issue and fully share the principles of equality for various segments of the population.