Friday, October 23, 2020

Former Uzbek President’s daughter offers $686 million to close corruption case

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Gulnara Karimova, the imprisoned eldest daughter of the late Uzbek President Islam Karimov, has offered to return $686 million to the country’s treasury in exchange for closure in the latest court case against her.

Karimova made the offer in a letter to her father’s successor, Shavkat Mirziyoev, posted by her London-based daughter Iman Karimova on Instagram on February 25. In the letter, she said her health is deteriorating and that she has not seen her children for years.

“Also, to preserve my family and my health, under the right conditions I am ready to release all claims to financial sums, the only money left to my family and frozen in Switzerland, to allow for the simplified closure of the case [against me], namely without a public trial, while I would assign $686 million to the state,” the letter, written in Russian, says.

Karimova, who has been jailed in Tashkent since March 2019, also complained in her letter that an estimated $1.2 billion in property and cash confiscated from her and her children during previous court cases has never been considered by Uzbek courts as compensation for damages to the treasury caused by her activities.

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Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court has said that a new trial against Karimova and “others” began on January 8.

The Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office said in August 2019 that the new case against Karimova was linked to allegations that she illegally bought state-owned shares of two cement plants that she later sold to foreign businessmen.

The 47-year-old Karimova, once seen as a possible successor to her father, has been also tied to money-laundering investigations in Sweden and Switzerland.

She was placed under house arrest in Tashkent in 2014 when her father was still alive and ran the country. Karimov died in 2016 and Mirziyoev became his successor soon afterward.

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In December 2017, Karimova was sentenced to a 10-year prison term, but several months later the sentence was reclassified to house arrest and shortened to five years.

In March 2019, she was placed in jail for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest.

Also in March 2019, the U.S. Justice Department named Karimova as part of a major international bribery scheme, charging her with conspiracy to violate U.S. foreign corruption laws.

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