Turf tussles involving Uzbekistan’s cellular phone market indicate that clan infighting is intensifying behind the scenes in Tashkent.
A report published September 20 by the Uzmetronom news website, which frequently features leaks from well-placed sources, announced the opening of a criminal case against Abdulla Aripov, who was fired as deputy prime minister in August. He is allegedly facing corruption charges for illegally granting licenses to O’zdunrobita, the Uzbek subsidiary of Russian cell phone giant MTS. Owned by Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov, MTS became embroiled this summer in a taxation dispute that forced the company to write off more than $1 billion in losses.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.