Popular Uzbek Weekly Under Investigation For Tax Evasion

Uzbekistan's most popular weekly newspaper, "Darakchi" (Messenger), is under investigation for tax evasion.

The newspaper is owned by a close associate of presidential daughter Gulnara Karimova.

Some of the newspaper's journalists told RFE/RL on December 11 that they were forced to take vacations and were advised to start looking for new jobs.

Business owners say they have been informed that their ads will stop being printed in the newspaper and that their money will not be returned as the newspaper's bank accounts have been frozen.

The weekly's owner, Uzbek media tycoon Firdavs Abduholiqov, has reportedly fled the country. His current whereabouts is unknown.

Karimova announced earlier on Twitter that many of her associates had been arrested and that her media holding company was being investigated for bribe-taking.