Relatives of the country’s ruling family have been seen to benefit from state expenditure, the report found [Alexander Vershinin/AP]

Foreign governments and investors must stop courting gas-rich Turkmenistan, “a country teetering on the edge of catastrophe”, according to a new report by the London-based Foreign Policy Centre.

Turkmenistan, second to North Korea in the scale of its isolation according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, has long attracted investment from foreign governments.

But the report, which was launched in Westminster on Monday, said the country has a “Potemkin economy” as respectable official gross domestic product (GDP) figures mask a chaotic, black financial system.

As the UK’s Department of International Trade wrote, “no reliable economic data are published in Turkmenistan”.

Investment risks include “the whims

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