Ex-Uzbek dictator’s daughter faces fresh charges
Uzbekistan says it has opened more criminal proceedings against Gulnara Karimova (pictured), the elder daughter of former dictator Islam Karimov.
Prosecutors said Karimova was accused of illegally buying state-owned shares in two cement factories and then selling them to foreign tycoons.
The ex-president’s daughter then “patronised” the foreign owners’ “illegal activities, which caused damage to the interests of the republic on an especially large scale”, the prosecutors’ office said.
The 47-year-old was also suspected of forcing owners of several Uzbek firms to hand assets to her “under threats of violence”.
Karimova’s Swiss lawyer, Gregoire Mangeat, declined to comment on the recent charges.
The former pop singer, who performed under the stage name Googoosha, was jailed in March for violation of her house arrest after receiving a five-year sentence in 2015 on charges of embezzlement and extortion.
The Tashkent authorities say they aim to seize more than US$1.5 billion in overseas assets held by Karimova, including properties.
It is a dramatic fall from grace for Karimova, who starred in expensively shot music videos, released her own perfumes and organised fashion shows in Tashkent that attracted celebrities such as Sting and Gerard Depardieu.
Switzerland has been asked to return US$555 million confiscated in connection with the Karimova case.
But the payment had been delayed, according to Mangeat, because of alleged mistreatment of the prisoner.
Karimova is likely to remain in prison despite an appeal saying she needed surgery.
Mangeat said he found her suffering from high blood pressure and a bandaged leg in June. He could not meet her in prison in July because she was being taken away in an ambulance.
The lawyer said the Swiss decision to withhold the payment had been made due to alleged violations of Karimova’s rights and the denial of medical treatment.
She was described by US envoys, in reports published by WikiLeaks, as a “robber baron”.
Karimova disappeared from public view after falling out with her father in 2014, reportedly over her hedonistic lifestyle.
Karimov controlled the most populous Central Asian country from 1989 until his death in September 2016, which has led to several human rights reforms.
When Karimov died, his wife and other daughter Lola were consoled by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the funeral but Gulnara was conspicuous by her absence.
Gulnara Karimova in happier times in 2009. Picture credit: Wikimedia