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Uzbek prosecutor confirms Karimova house arrest

Photo released earlier this month by Uzbek authorities allegedly showed Gulnara Karimova resisting government agents during her house arrest.Law enforcement officials in Uzbekistan confirmed Tuesday that Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of President Islam Karimov, is under house arrest and being investigated for alleged corruption.

“The prosecutor general’s office, in a September 23 statement, acknowledged that Karimova was being held ‘in isolation’ at home with her 16-year-old daughter, Iman,” according to RFE/RL.

Karimova, 42, moved last year from a $20 million mansion in Switzerland to a home in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

The prosecutor general’s office said earlier this month that a person named “Karimova G.” was a suspect in a case against an organized criminal group.

The one-time fashion designer and socialite was seen as a possible successor to her father, who’s 76. But in May, documents surfaced during an investigation by journalists that appeared to show evidence of $300 million in bribes to Karimova from Swedish telecom giant TeliaSonera.

She was also criticized after dissidents who occupied her Geneva mansion found more than 60 paintings and objects pilfered from Uzbekistan’s state art museums.

The prosecutors’ statement Tuesday said, “Karimova…may have used administrative levers and provided the ‘corruption element’ for members of an organized [criminal] group.”

In July, an Uzbek court sentenced several of her alleged associates to prison for financial crimes.

A statement earlier this month from the prosecutor general’s office said the criminal group that included “Karimova G.” was suspected of blackmail, extortion, forgery, and embezzlement.

Tuesday’s statement said neither Karimova nor her daughter were suffering any health problems and that Iman, who was born in the United States, “can go anywhere she likes,” RFE/RL said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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