Uzbekistan: Prosecutors reveal talks on Karimova’s Swiss accounts
Authorities are desperately seeking to repatriate cash held in foreign accounts by the late president’s daughter.
Prosecutors in Uzbekistan have said that they are in talks with their counterparts in Switzerland in a bid to repatriate money stashed away there by the jailed daughter of late President Islam Karimov.
“As soon as this is definitively resolved, we will certainly make an official statement,” General Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Surayo Rakhmanova told news website Podrobno.uz.
What is at stake are some $810 million that were deposited in Swiss bank accounts by Gulnara Karimova, who ran multiple businesses and is said to have profited handsomely from corrupt practices when at the height of her powers. The funds were frozen in 2015 at the request of investigators in the United States probing claims that Karimova, who turns 46 on July 8, extorted bribes from foreign telecommunications companies operating in Uzbekistan.
Karimova, once a voluble public personality, vanished from the scene in 2014 amid concerted rumors that she was under investigation. It was only last year, however, that Uzbek prosecutors revealed that she was in 2015 sentenced to five years of “restricted liberty” on corruption charges. All hearings were held under strict conditions of secrecy.
Law enforcement officials claim that Karimova and her associates salted away more than $1.3 billion across at least 12 jurisdictions. The bulk of those funds are believed to be located in Switzerland.
On June 24, Karimova’s Swiss lawyer was said to be in Tashkent with the hope of meeting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The lawyer, Gregoire Mangeat, was quoted by RFE/RL as saying that Karimova is being “held in a prison approximately three hours' drive from Tashkent.” Mangeat said that while his client’s condition has improved since Mirziyoyev came to power, after September 2016, her situation is still “very bad.”
The Sunday edition of Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung has cited Mangeat as saying that he is planning to file a legal bid against Uzbekistan’s efforts to claim the hundreds of million said to belong to his client.