A writer named Kate Cohen, posting on a little-known website, recently uncovered shady business practices that subsequently created a riptide of political scandal in Kyrgyzstan.
There are a couple of problems with the story, however. For one, Kate Cohen may not be a real person. And central elements of the scandal may have been fabricated, as there evidently was not a rigorous review process in place to check the facts prior to publication.
All the same, the government is running with the story, which happens to blacken the names of some of its most prominent critics at an important juncture in Kyrgyz politics.
The piece in question was published on October 12 by Cohen on a website called Litterareport.com. It alleged that three members of parliament with the opposition Ata-Meken party connived to profit from the sale of a telecoms company. Kyrgyz authorities say the company was expropriated by the son of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted in 2010.
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