Kanye West 'paid $4m' to play at wedding of Kazakh leader's grandson

ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN (AFP) - American hip hop superstar Kanye West was the surprise celebrity guest at the lavish wedding party this weekend in Almaty of the grandson of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakh media reports said on Monday.

Mr Aisultan Nazarbayev celebrated his marriage to bride Alima Boranbayeva in a no-expense spared party on Saturday night at the Royal Tulip hotel in Almaty, the Tengri news website reported. It published pictures that guests had published on their Instagram and social networking sites of West attending the party, and there was also footage of him performing in front of the cheering guests.

The Kazakh media reports did not give any financial details but US celebrity website TMZ said he was paid around US$3 million (S$3.9 million) for the private performance.

According to Kazakh media, Mr Aisultan is a 23-year old graduate of the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in Britain. Ms Alima, 20, is the daughter of a top Kazakh energy executive and studies History of Art at the Courtauld Institute in London.

In Britain, Mr Aisultan also reportedly played youth football for Portsmouth and Chelsea but is now a full-time member of the Kazakh military's intelligence department.

Mr Aisultan is the son of Mr Nazarbayev's eldest daughter Dariga and her now ex-husband Rakhat Aliyev. His father, now a top critic of Mr Nazarbayev, is in exile and wanted on charges of murder in Kazakhstan. Mr Aisultan subsequently took his grandfather's surname.

Mr Nazarbayev has been repeatedly criticised by rights groups for his authoritarian rule and squeezing dissent in the Central Asian state. Such appearances by celebrities in autocratic Central Asia have backfired for stars in the past.

US pop diva Jennifer Lopez was vehemently criticised for appearing at a birthday party for Turkmenistan's strongman President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov this year. British pop star Sting cancelled a concert he was due to give in Kazakhstan in July 2011, blaming violations of the human rights.

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