Journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project uncovered documents last year appearing to show $300 million in bribes to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, in exchange for access to the country’s telecoms market.
Karimova, 42, has been under house arrest in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent since September last year.
During the past two years, as many as 60 alleged Karimova associates have been convicted in Uzbekistan of financial fraud and sentenced to long prison terms.
Those involved reportedly include managers, bookkeepers, and other employees of three industrial facilities with ties to Karimova.
A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2005 described her a “robber baron” and “the single most hated person” in Uzbekistan.
In April, the United States asked Swedish authorities to freeze more than $30 million in assets linked to an investigation into possible bribery of Uzbek officials and money laundering.
The DOJ reportedly said in a letter that there’s evidence that the Russian-Norwegian company VimpelCom, Russian-owned MTS, and Swedish-Finnish company TeliaSonera “paid bribes to Uzbek officials to obtain mobile telecommunications business in Uzbekistan.”
Here’s a two-minute video about Karimova’s alleged telecoms deals from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project:
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.