Karimova back to prison in Uzbekistan, indicted in US


Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s late president, is back in prison after a spell under house arrest following her conviction on corruption charges. Meanwhile, in the United States, she's been charged with soliciting and receiving more than $865 million in bribes.

Uzbekistan’s General Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the transfer on March 6 in a statement that noted that Karimova had repeatedly violated the terms of her house arrest.

News of the move was leaked a day earlier by Karimova’s daughter, Iman, who posted images on the internet of her mother being dragged away from her home by uniformed men.

According to prosecutors, Karimova on November 22 left the residence where she is being detained, in breach of the rules. She also made use of the internet and other proscribed forms of communication, officials said.

Iman Karimova has said that her mother has been living at her home since June 2018, following a spell in prison.

Tashkent regional court sentenced Karimova to 10 years of “limited freedom” in December 2017 on corruption charges. She later pledged to assist in recovering funds said to have been improperly acquired, prompting the court to commute the sentence to five years.

The same court on March 5 ruled to return Karimova to prison for the remainder of her sentence.

That Uzbek prosecutors should be exercising so much transparency on this matter marks a sharp break with earlier form. Indeed, far from Karimova being unnameable, she is now ready fodder for sensational news coverage.

On March 6, local news website Kun.uz ran a report headlined “The Karimova Case: Where Did All The Stolen Money Go?”

The article was illustrated by a series of photos showing assets allegedly acquired by Karimova during her father’s quarter-century in power. Among them were real estate in countries including France, the United States, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, and also Crimea.

Also in the list of her alleged riches was a Bombardier Global Express business jet that the website estimated was worth $48 million.

The American indictment , which was unsealed on March 7, accuses Karimova of using her official position to shake down telecommunications firms seeking to operate in Uzbekistan. She then allegedly used the U.S. financial system to launder the money. In connection to the case, New York Stock Exchange-listed MTS – Russia's largest telecoms firm – and its Uzbek subsidiaries have settled with American officials and agreed to pay $850 million in fines

This story has been updated to include the U.S. indictment.