Tue, 16 Jul 2019

The Swiss Attorney General's Office (OAG) says it seized $133 million that ultimately belongs to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the late president of Uzbekistan who is serving prison term on corruption charges.

In a June 24 news release, the OAG said an unnamed male relative of Karimova's had concealed the funds by 'opening bank accounts on behalf of companies in order to fragment the money transfers' and hide the origin of funds.

The forfeited assets will be returned to Uzbekistan, the OAG said, and Karimova's relative was ordered to pay a fine of nearly $400,000.

Karimova's relative was convicted on June 24 and is the latest person connected to a forgery and money laundering case against Karimova, her personal assistant and two other employees, as well as the 'general manager of the Uzbek subsidiary of a Russian telecommunications company,' the OAG said.

Meanwhile, Karimova has asked Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev for clemency in a June 23 statement on Instagram.

Karimova said she is "sorry," while expressing regret 'over any disappointment that I may have caused.'

Karimova said she is in need of surgery for an unspecified health problem.

Karimova claimed that $1.2 billion of her assets have already been repatriated to Uzbekistan and is 'now working for the benefit of the budget of the republic."

She also said that she's told her lawyers to cease legal claim on another $686 million kept on her bank accounts abroad.

Swiss authorities said that five suspects are still under investigation and that over $650 million of 'assets remain frozen.'

Karimova, once seen as a possible successor to her father, Islam Karimov, has been tied to money-laundering investigations in Sweden and Switzerland, and was convicted for financial crimes in Uzbekistan.

She was placed under house arrest in Tashkent in 2014, when her father was still alive and ran the country. Karimov died in 2016 and Mirziyoev became the president after that.

In December 2017, Karimova was sentenced to a 10-year prison term but several months later, the sentence was reclassified to house arrest and shortened to five years.

In early March, Uzbekistan's Prosecutor-General's Office said a Tashkent court had found Karimova had violated the terms of her house arrest and ordered her sent to prison.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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