The recent sentencing of a executive connected with a troubled British gold mining venture in Uzbekistan offers fresh evidence that Tashkent has foreign investors in its cross-hairs. Some observers suspect a behind-the-scenes power struggle is responsible for a string of incidents involving foreign-operated companies in Uzbekistan.
The imprisonment of Said Ashurov, a Tajik national, is connected to the complicated case of Oxus Gold, a British company forced to suspend its operations in Uzbekistan in February over business disputes with the Uzbek government. Ashurov, a former chief metallurgist in an Oxus-run project, was stopped near the Uzbek-Tajik border in March and charged with possessing state secrets. At the time of his arrest, most of the other foreign officers of the Oxus venture had already left the country. A military court sentenced him August 10 to a 12-year prison term for espionage, the company said in a statement. It described the case against Ashurov as “fabricated.”
To read the full story