Kazakhstan has issued an official “thank you” to Sacha Baron Cohen for his comedy film Borat, even though it lampooned the country and its people.

The 2006 film, which followed the fictitious Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, was previously banned in Kazakhstan.

It caused further controversy when officials played its spoof national anthem during a medal ceremony for a shooting competition in Kuwait earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov admitted in parliament that the film had led to a huge boost in tourism.

“I salute Borat for helping attract tourists to Kazakhstan,” he said. “With the release of this film, the number of visas issued by Kazakhstan grew tenfold.”

Mr Kazykhanov’s comments mark the first time a Kazakh official has expressed anything but disgust at Borat.

The Kazakh embassy in London has been put under strict orders to ensure there is no embarrassing repeat of the anthem mix-up at the Olympics this summer. - Daily Mail