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Uzbek Dissident Claims Gulnara's Geneva Home Holds National Treasures

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Uzbek first daughter Gulnara Karimova has never hidden her appreciation of art.

What she may have been hiding, however, is the art itself.

An Uzbek dissident currently occupying Karimova's $20-million Geneva mansion says he has uncovered a treasure trove of 20th-century paintings pilfered from Uzbekistan's state art museums.

Safar Bekjan, an Uzbek political refugee, illegally entered Karimova's home on December 23 together with four fellow dissidents.

Since then, he has posted online photographs of what he says are hundreds of luxury items, including gold and diamond jewelry, a Bentley automobile, and an 18th-century Koran inlaid with precious stones.

Perhaps more importantly, Bekjan also claims to have uncovered more than 60 museum artworks -- including rare pieces like "Beauty," a 1980 masterwork by Chingiz Akhmarov, a People's Artist of Uzbekistan, as well as paintings by celebrated artists, such as Viktor Ufimtsev and Ruzi Choriev.

Bekjan told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, Radio Ozodlik, that he entered the house looking to document Karimova's excesses, but was shocked to find the art, much of which was stored in the attic.

To read the full story

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Uzbek Dissident Claims Gulnara's Geneva Home Holds National Treasures

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