Uzbek prosecutors have launched a new criminal case against Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of late president Islam Karimov, over allegations of illegal privatisation, the Prosecutor General’s office said on August 19.
Karimova, 47, has already been imprisoned in March for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest after she received a five-year sentence in 2015 on charges of extortion and embezzlement. This time, prosecutors indicted Karimova over illegally buying two cement plants and selling them off to a foreign business. The statement said Karimova used threats to coerce the owners to hand over their companies.
Karimova was for years seen by many as her father’s likely heir until she was discovered to be the central figure in international corruption investigations. Court documents compiled by Swedish prosecutors asserted last year that Karimova used tactics of intimidation to wrest control of a major telecoms operator and turn it into a cash cow that she could draw on at her whim.
Leaked US cables on Karimova labelled her a “robber baron” who saw herself as “above the law”. They also referred to her as “the single most hated person in [Uzbekistan]”. Four years ago, shortly after the bribery probe was launched, Karimova disappeared from the public eye and was placed under house arrest.
Uzbek prosecutors have previously said they were aiming to seize over $1.5bn of Karimova’s foreign assets including luxury properties.