Ex-Uzbek president’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, arrested
Gulnara Karimova (pictured), the eldest daughter of deceased Uzbekistan dictator, has been sent to prison to serve the remainder of a five-year sentence after violating the terms of her house arrest, the prosecutor’s office in Tashkent has said.
She repeatedly used the internet and left her apartment, which she was banned from doing, and failed to pay the state compensation, prosecutors told the media.
Karimova, 46, was a high-profile tycoon, diplomat, fashion designer and kitsch pop singer who was last seen in public in 2014 after a reported dispute with her father, Islam Karimov, who ruled Uzbekistan after the break up of the Soviet Union until his death in 2016.
“We, her defence counsels, denounce these totally arbitrary methods,” tweeted her Swiss lawyer, Grégoire Mangeat. “For several months now, we have been unsuccessfully asking the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland to commit an expert to establish the absence of the rule of law in Uzbekistan.”
Tashkent said in 2017 that the former glamour model, who was once considered a possible future president, had been convicted on embezzlement and money-laundering charges. It is unclear when she was tried and where she has been incarcerated.
Karimova’s daughter, Iman, said the Uzbek police dragged Karimova from her Tashkent apartment on Tuesday. She posted a blurred Instagram photo of a woman struggling in a doorway with two men.
She was once a divisive figure in Uzbek politics who was ambassador to Spain and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
The former big-shot also ran her own jewellery firm, had an entertainment TV channel and released pop songs under her stage name Googoosha.
In 2010, a leaked US embassy document called the dictator’s daughter a “robber baron” who considered herself above the law. The cable also said she was hated across Uzbekistan and wider Central Asia.
But she reportedly fell out with the former president and the rest of the family in 2014 and was detained by the authorities. Karimova failed to attend her father’s funeral after his September 2016 death.
She was also dogged by persistent reports of rampant bribery and extortion involving foreign companies.
In 2013, it was reported in Sweden that Karimova had used her position to serve as a gatekeeper for international telecoms firms looking to invest in Uzbekistan. The doubly landlocked country was considered a fast-growing market for cellular expansion.
Criminal investigations in Sweden, the US, Switzerland, the Netherlands and elsewhere followed, focusing on international telecoms firms.
Uzbek prosecutors accused her of being part of a criminal gang with assets of more than US$1bn in 12 countries, including the UK, Russia and United Arab Emirates.
Picture credit: Wikimedia