Uzbekistan's Gulnara Karimova denies detention by police

By bne IntelliNews November 22, 2013

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Gulnara Karimova has denied speculation that police detained her overnight. However, the elder daughter of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov still looks to be firmly on the losing side in a power struggle within the country.

Karimova wrote on her Twitter feed late on November 20 that she was at a police station, triggering speculation that she had been arrested. However, the following day the enthusiastic tweeter refuted suggestions she had been detained overnight.

Later on November 21, Karimova's Twitter feed suddenly disappeared, after she published a series of accusations against her mother. These included a claim that Tatyana Karimova had ordered the arrest of her cousin Akbarali Abdullayev, in an attempt to take over his interests in the Ferghana Valley, which include most of the region's major businesses.

Abdullaev was arrested in October on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, with the order for his detention reportedly issued at the highest levels of government. His arrest was one of a series of blows against Karimova, who until recently was considered a potential candidate to succeed her father as Uzbekistan's next president.

Four television channels linked to Karimova's charitable organisation Fund Forum have been off the air since October 21. Investigations have been launched into both her media holding company Terra Group and Fund Forum.

In earlier claims via her Twitter feed, Karimova has accused National Security Service chief Rustam Inoyatov of being behind the attacks on her media companies. She wrote that Inoyatov "has started his struggle to become Uzbekistan's next president."

Karimova - called Uzbekistan's "robber baron" in US diplomatic cables - has also come under scrutiny outside her home country, with probes launched into her assets in several countries, including Sweden, France and Russia. According to independent Uzbek news site Uznews, she is now virtually penniless, being unable to access most of her fortune, which is estimated at up to several billion dollars.

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