GRATA International > Almaty, Kazakhstan > Firm Profile

GRATA International
Al-Farabi avenue 77/7
Business Center "Esentai Tower"
10th Floor, 050040

Kazakhstan > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Noted for handling a range of high-profile transactions, GRATA International handles the full range of M&A related issues, from due diligence, to the registration of rights and acquired shares and assets, in addition to regulatory approvals. The team has a strong track record in advising clients on the protection of shareholders’ rights, structure and function of boards, and the accountability and liability of top managers. Igor Lukin leads the team and is a key name for major high-value transactions.

Practice head(s):

Igor Lukin

Key clients

Clayton Dubiler & Rice

Food Empire Holdings




Sarantis Group




Work highlights

  • Advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on various Kazakhstan legal matters in relation to a global acquisition of the PwC’s Global Mobility Tax and Immigration Services Business.
  • Advised Food Empire Holdings on the acquisition of Tea House LLP.
  • Advised Qlik on various matters related to the entry into the market of Kazakhstan, including incorporation of a local office, opening bank accounts, employment and immigration issues.

Kazakhstan > Energy and natural resources Tier 1

GRATA International is renowned for its expertise in the natural resources sector, having represented foreign investors in oil, gas and uranium alongside support to foreign investors in the mining industry. The team is specialised to handle matters with government authorities, including the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Industry. Almat Daumov is the head of the natural resources team and has experience in advising investors, whereas Yerbolat Yerkebulanov deals with subsoil use, EPC contracts and regulated procurements within the oil and gas and mining sectors. Baizhan Bekzhanov handles all matters related to the mining industry, with experience originating out of his work as a legal counsel for a large uranium company in Kazakhstan.

Practice head(s):

Almat Daumov; Yerbolat Yerkebulanov; Maxim Burak; Yerzhan Yessimkhanov; Zaira Sarsenova

Other key lawyers:


‘Grata is the oldest and the most respected law firm in Kazakhstan. The firm has a wealth of experience and local knowledge ’

‘Baizhan Bekhzhanov is a really excellent partner who knows the industry very well. He is responsive and commercial; always delivers great service to his clients. Askar Konysbayev is a seasoned litigation partner with a lot of cases under his belt. ’

‘The team is strong and client-entered.’

‘Baizhan Bekzhanov is a great professional. ’

‘Baizhan Bekzhanov is a key partner in the firm. He has broad experience in different fields such as Environmental, subsoil use, and commercial law. He provides us with a piece of advice not only from a legal point of view but also from a practical point of view. This is very important in such a jurisdiction like Kazakhstan.’

Key clients

Barrick Gold Corporation

Rio Tinto Exploration Kazakhstan

Altius Petroleum International B.V.

Korea National Oil Company (KNOC)

Sandvik Mining and Construction Kazakhstan Ltd.

Eni S.p.A.

HeatTeq Refractories Services B.V.

Caspi Neft


Great Wall

ILF Consulting Engineers

KMG Nabors Drilling Company


Borealis AG

Kazakhstan > IP and TMT Tier 1

GRATA International's IP practice, led by Timur Berekmoinov handles a full range of intellectual property work in Kazakhstan and across the region. Yerzhan Yessimkhanov heads the firm's TMT practice and provides legal support to international technology companies. Gleb Yevseyev is noted for his involvement in pioneering telecoms work.

Practice head(s):

Timur Berekmoinov; Yerzhan Yessimkhanov

Other key lawyers:


‘Customer-oriented and flexible approach to solving non-standard issues.’

‘Attention to detail and full involvement in the essence of the request.’

Key clients

Blingby LLC

Accord Healthcare Limited

GE Healthcare Russia & CIS

Roche Kazakhstan LLP

Nobel Oil Service (UK) Limited

SMART Technologies ULC





China Telecom


Cloud Payments




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

Led by Yerzhan Yessimkhanov, Almaty-based GRATA International advises global and local construction and infrastructure companies in Kazakhstan in connection with complex infrastructure projects in the region. Darya Zhanysbayeva, a new partner promotion, has extensive experience on transactions with real estate property and EPC contracts, whereas Gleb Yevseyev is knowledgeable in residential property management. Arsen Mir is noted for his work for foreign clients looking for Kazakh real estate.

Practice head(s):

Yerzhan Yessimkhanov

Key clients

KazStroyService OJSC

Siemens Energy

PTC Holding

Tecnicas Reunidas


Kumpulan Kazakhstan

Abu Dhabi Ports

Bureau Veritas

Agroholding Steppe

Small Rock Investments

Meadow Hills

Alatau Golf Residences


Work highlights

  • Advising PTC Holding in connection with acquisition of share in a cargo terminal in Georgia and construction of a new multimodal transportation terminal.
  • Received instructions from Siemens Energy in connection with signing of two contracts for erection and commissioning of two major energy facilities in Uzbekistan.
  • Advising Tecnicas Reunidas in connection with ongoing operations in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan > Tax and customs Tier 1

GRATA International‘s tax and customs team offers tax consultancy services, assistance in customs control as well as representation  and protection of interest in disputes, with the firm’s lawyers comprising of tax and customs specialists with experience in the Kazakh authorities, including experience in performance of tax control. The frim continues to be a member of the Tax Committee of the European Business Association of Kazakhstan and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as participating in discussions of the draft of the new Tax Code. Assel Ilyassova  heads the tax and customs law department and has worked in the Almaty City Tax Authority as a senior tax inspector in charge of legal support. Kanat Adilbekov was a first category tax consultant prior to joining as counsel, while Kamila Urazalina has extensive experience in customs, having represented and protected the interests of the customs authorities and customs auditing procedures. Lyazzat Zhilkibagarova is a name to watch.

Practice head(s):

Assel Ilyassova

Work highlights

Kazakhstan > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

GRATA International has experience in PPP deals, including full involvement on such projects in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian jurisdictions. Within capital markets, the team has extensive experience in areas such as IPOs and Eurobonds issuances. Shaimerden Chikanayev co-leads the firm with Marina Kahiani, with Chikanayev experienced in cross-border lending and capital markets alongside project finance, whereas Kahlani has a proven track record in heavyweight deals.

Practice head(s):

Shaimerden Chikanayev; Marina Kahlani

Key clients

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

China Development Bank

Bank of China (Hong Kong)

International Finance Corporation

Renaissance Capital


Islamic Development Bank

Sucres & Denrées

DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft

China International Capital Corporation (Hong Kong) Limited

Asian Development Bank


Work highlights

Kazakhstan > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Noted for its ‘wealth of experience and local knowledge,’ GRATA International covers a variety of services related to litigation, including general commercial disputes, construction matters and employment litigation. The team has experience representing clients before international courts as well as domestic Kazakh courts and arbitral tribunals. ‘Great litigation partnerAskar Konysbayev co-leads the practice alongside Assel Illyasova, who is experienced in tax disputes, while Timur Berekmoinov has helped to expand the practice through his expertise in IP litigation. Zhandarbek Ramazan and Gulnur Nurkeyeva are key names from the firm.

Practice head(s):

Askar Konysbayev; Assel Illyasova

Other key lawyers:


‘Grata is the biggest and oldest local firm in Kazakhstan. It has a wealth of experience and local knowledge.’

‘Baizhan Bekzhanov is very commercial and sound. A good and solid name in the market. Askar Konysbayev is a great litigation partner. He knows the market and he knows how to convince the court.’

‘Grata has a good overall team of lawyers and the partners are very skilled. Professional.’

‘ We were happy with Grata support and our track record with Grata is very good, most cases have been won in court or settled favorably.’

‘Gulnur Nurkeyeva’s team is very professional and excellent, they worked very hard and dig into the details of the dispute, this is the reason that they help us to win several cases in Kazakh.’

‘I would like to say that Gulnur Nurkeyeva is the most professional and trustworthy lawyer I ever met in Kazakhstan.’


The firm

GRATA International is an international law firm, founded on 22 April 1992.

Today, clients have more than 200 professionals in 21 countries at their disposal. GRATA International is a global team representing different countries and nationalities and which has experience advising on all areas of law.

The firm’s competitive advantages include a wide network of offices mostly covering Eurasia, optimal price and quality ratio, and understanding of the local mentality of doing business. The opportunity to utilise resources without regional boundaries enables it to increase the cost-effectiveness and the efficiency of services provided.

Areas of practice

Contract: commercial agreements; legal support for the participation in procurement procedures; legal support of infrastructure projects and PPP projects; special economic zones.

Corporate: antitrust l?w; apostile/legalisation of documents to be provided to state authorities; corporate changes; corporate governance; defence against hostile takeovers; development of foundation documents; incorporation; liquidation.

Data protection and privacy: DD of internal documents of companies for compliance with legal requirements on data protection; advising on different IT law issues (data protection, data localisation).

Dispute resolution: representing in courts; protection against illegal takeover; pretrial dispute settlement; representation in arbitration proceedings; legal support during enforcement proceedings; enforcement of court acts and arbitral awards; injunctive relief measures in foreign arbitrage proceedings; legal due diligence including internal investigations.

Environment: environmental disputes and liability for environmental violations; environmental due diligence; environmental requirements in contractual practice.

Finance and securities: aircraft; maritime and railcar finance and leasing; bank and corporate lending; banking and insurance disputes; bond offerings; derivatives; financial services regulation; foreign direct investment; M&A; debt restructuring and insolvency.

International trade, customs and WTO: customs regulations; taxes and customs duties at import and export of goods.

Intellectual property: pre-trial protection of intellectual property rights; registration of intellectual property rights.

Employment: audit and development of employment documentation; engaging foreign labour in Kazakhstan; instruction on hiring, changing working conditions and termination of employment agreements.

Licences and permits: advising on licensing of company activities; obtaining/renewing licences in the industry and trade sectors; obtaining/advising on permits; advising on sanitary and epidemiological requirements; ratios of components in food and non-food items.

Project finance and public-private partnerships (PPP): structuring the PPP scheme, determining most effective implementation schemes, negotiations with state authorities; legal due diligence; drafting and harmonisation of agreements including PPP contracts and concession agreements.

Real estate: registration and transfer and lease of immovable property; application of international standard construction contracts in Kazakhstan; real estate acquisition and registration.

Restructuring and insolvency: debt restructuring and general insolvency advice; insolvency and related litigation, filing for rehabilitation/bankruptcy; representing creditors and debtors within rehabilitation/bankruptcy procedures.

Subsoil use: contract for drilling works and other services agreements exploration and production of minerals; Kazakhstani content requirements relating to procurement; personal taxation; pledge of a subsoil use right.

Tax: appealing tax audit results and tax litigation; corporate taxation and tax planning; tax due diligence; VAT refund from the state budget; representation of companies’ interests in courts; international arbitration.

In 2014, GRATA International Kazakhstan underwent the certification procedure for Quality Management System and received ISO 9001:2009 certificate. The firm also has professional indemnity insurance for legal services. In 2019, GRATA International was registered on the territory of Astana International Financial Centre in accordance with its existing laws and received license AFSA-A-LA-2019-0010.


Department Name Email Telephone
Yerzhan Yessimkhanov
Igor Lukin
Shakhrukh Usmanov
Saule Akhmetova
Liya Akzhanova
Askar Konysbayev
Leila Makhmetova
Shaimerden Chikanayev
Marina Kahiani
Timur Berekmoinov
Marina Kolesnikova
Baizhan Bekzhanov
Almat Daumov
Yerbolat Yerkebulanov
Zaira Sarsenova
Photo Name Position Profile
Samat   Daumov photo Mr Samat Daumov Samat Daumov is a Partner and Director of GRATA International office in…
Saule  Akhmetova photo Ms Saule Akhmetova Saule Akhmetova is a partner and the Director of the Almaty branch…
Liya  Akzhanova photo Ms Liya Akzhanova Liya Akzhanova has diverse knowledge in various fields of law. She joined…
Baizhan  Bekzhanov photo Mr Baizhan Bekzhanov Baizhan Bekzhanov is a Partner in Natural Resources team of GRATA International.…
Timur  Berekmoinov photo Mr Timur Berekmoinov Timur Berekmoinov is a Partner, Head of Intellectual Property team of GRATA…
Maxim Burak photo Mr Maxim Burak Maxim Burak is a Partner at GRATA International in Astana. Maxim got…
Shaimerden  Chikanayev photo Mr Shaimerden Chikanayev Shaimerden Chikanayev advises international financial institutions, investors, sponsors, developers and government entities…
Almat Daumov photo Mr Almat Daumov Almat Daumov is a Partner and Head of Natural Resources Department of…
Assel  Ilyassova photo Ms Assel Ilyassova Assel Ilyassova is a Partner and the Head of the Tax and…
Marina  Kahiani photo Ms Marina Kahiani Marina Kahiani is one of the leading partners of GRATA International qualified…
Askar Konysbayev photo Univ Prof Dr Askar Konysbayev
Askar  Konysbayev photo Mr Askar Konysbayev Askar Konysbayev is a Partner at GRATA International. He represents clients on…
Igor  Lukin photo Mr Igor Lukin Igor Lukin is a Partner, Head of Corporate, Competition practices and Co-head…
Leila  Makhmetova photo Ms Leila Makhmetova Leila Makhmetova is counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department and Licenses and…
Zaira  Sarsenova photo Ms Zaira Sarsenova Zaira Sarsenova is a Partner and Branch Director of GRATA International in…
Kamila  Urazalina photo Ms Kamila Urazalina Kamila Urazalina is a Counsel of the Tax and Customs Law Department…
Shakhrukh  Usmanov photo Mr Shakhrukh Usmanov Shakhrukh Usmanov is a Partner and Head of Trade and Industry and…
Yerbolat  Yerkebulanov photo Mr Yerbolat Yerkebulanov Yerbolat Yerkebulanov is a Partner and Head of Subsoil Use Department (Almaty)…
Yerzhan  Yessimkhanov photo Mr Yerzhan Yessimkhanov Yerzhan Yessimkhanov is a Partner, Head of telecommunication & transport, construction &…
Darya Zhanysbayeva photo Ms Darya Zhanysbayeva Darya Zhanysbayeva is a Partner of GRATA International. Darya focuses on commercial…
Aliya  Zhumekenova photo Ms Aliya Zhumekenova Aliya Zhumekenova is a Partner with Industry and Trade, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Department…
Number of lawyers : 220
American Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan
British - Kazakh Society
European Business Association of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan Bar Association
Joint Chamber of Commerce (JCC Switzerland)
CCI France Kazakhstan

GRATA International Team

GRATA International team explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate GRATA International from your competitors?

GRATA International’s journey began as a Kazakhstani law firm, a testament to our resilience and adaptability, shortly after the country gained its sovereignty. In the late 1990s, we embarked on a geographical expansion, initially focusing on the Central Asian and Caspian regions.

Today, we have an extensive network of offices in over 20 countries, operating under one system and platform. This allows us to provide services to global clients on the most complex multi-jurisdictional projects.

Our unique position in the strategic region of the ex-Soviet bloc, where most international law firms lack sufficient capacity, sets us apart from our competitors. Additionally, we have established marketing desks in key legal hubs such as New York, London, and Beijing.

For over 30 years, our lawyers have successfully combined a deep understanding of national mindset and legislation with international standards. Our specialists continuously enhance their expertise to respond to evolving business and client demands.

The firm’s key strength lies in a broad spectrum of services combined with a deep specialization in specific business areas. Our clients can access legal services in 8 industries and 18 practice areas. Reputable legal directories confirm the quality of our services and constantly rank us among the leading international and domestic law firms.

Importantly, we offer a tailor-made approach to meet each client’s unique expectations and competitive fees.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

With digital transformation gaining momentum, we see several practice areas growing next year: e-commerce, digital law, cybersecurity, data protection, and AI. Continuous legislation development and change and increased control by the supervising authority force businesses to study these areas of law more carefully to comply with the statutory requirements.

Moreover, given the geopolitical situation, Kazakhstan could act as a critical investment hub for international businesses and banks in the CIS region, fostering growth in M&A and Project Finance practice areas.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Our firm has meticulously cultivated a range of specializations spanning various branches of law and economic sectors. This comprehensive understanding has allowed us to grasp the intricacies of special legislation and its practical application and master the detailed regulation within specific business areas. As a testament to our expertise, we have developed the Acting Law of the AIFC, a Flagship product in the Central Asian region.

Additionally, we have become flexible in our offline and online cooperation with our clients to effectively meet our client’s needs and provide support regardless of the mode of communication or interaction.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

GRATA International has been using new technologies for decades. We started using Google products, Skype, and others when they appeared on the market, which helped us enhance communication with clients.

Our firm has also been using remote workplace policies and techniques for two decades, which allowed a seamless transition to an online work approach during the pandemic.

At GRATA, our integrated CRM system is more than just a tool. It’s a testament to our commitment to our clients. This system allows us to assist clients on a one-window basis, providing multi-jurisdictional advice for global clients. By centralizing our approach, we streamline communication and ensure our clients’ needs are met efficiently, making them feel valued and prioritized.

And indeed, technologies enable us to stay connected with our clients wherever and whenever they need our assistance. Whether through video conferencing, email, or other digital platforms, we can provide services from anywhere worldwide, ensuring timely and practical support.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We deliver legal support during redomicilation to the Astana International Financial Center (a Kazakhstani place with a common law system), which helps international and foreign clients save their businesses from negative geopolitical impact. Additionally, redomicilation allows the clients to get tax benefits and to structure their corporate governance in more suitable ways, considering the world’s geopolitical situation.

Our successful invalidation of a competitor’s invention patent has opened up new avenues for our client. It has not only cleared the path for our client to offer its product for sale in Kazakhstan but has also removed a significant barrier to market entry, paving the way for accelerated business growth.

We also won an administrative court case and overturned a court ruling holding our IT client administratively liable after winning a court case for this client on debt collection.

Another notable example is when we supported and advised one of the world’s most considerable FMCG companies during its months-long negotiations with landlords for office relocation in Kazakhstan, ensuring a smooth transition to new office premises and minimal disruption to business operations.

We also extensively advised one of the world’s top medical equipment manufacturers on enhancing its sales and promotional activities in Kazakhstan from a tax and legal perspective, optimizing and unifying large commercial contracts/policies for Central Asia and Caucasus countries, and advising another one of the world’s top-3 medical equipment manufacturers on transferring a big data archive to Kazakhstan.

Moreover, we succeeded in winning an administrative court case for a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions on delisting it from the governmental register of blacklisted suppliers.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

That is a real trend that clients do seek stability and strategic direction from their law firms, especially in an ever-changing legal and business landscape.

In three years, we see our firm strengthening its position as a go-to firm for complex legal matters, both domestically and internationally. We also plan to expand to new jurisdictions, deepen our industry expertise, and improve services to be more beneficial for our clients.

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GRATA International Legal Series (GILS): Corporate law

The GRATA International Legal Series (the “GILS”) is a distinctive legal handbook, offering essential legal insights and practical tips for conducting business across jurisdictions where GRATA International operates. 

GRATA International Legal Series (GILS) is a distinctive legal handbook presented in a Q&A format, offering essential legal insights and practical tips for conducting business across jurisdictions where GRATA International operates.

Legal experts within the GILS framework have compiled an overview of the legislative structures across different legal environments.