Ex Uzbek president’s daughter agrees to gave back looted 1$ bn money to state
TASHKENT: The jailed daughter of Uzbekistan’s former president, once tipped to succeed her father, says she has given $1.2 billion to the state and asked to be released. Gulnara Karimova, the 46-year-old daughter of late strongman Islam Karimov, was sentenced to a decade behind bars in 2017 on fraud and money laundering charges.
In a statement via Instagram on Sunday she stopped short of acknowledging guilt but made an apology to the people of the central Asian nation for “disappointment that I might have brought”. The former diplomat and popstar said more than one billion dollars of her “personal assets” had been given to the state “in the interest of the republic’s budget”.
The Russian-language post also said Karimova and her legal team had relinquished claims to $686 million kept in foreign banks. “It’s authentic,” Karimova’s Swiss lawyer Gregoire Mangeat told AFP of the Instagram story on Monday, while refusing to comment on the contents.
In 2018 a court commuted Karimova’s sentence to a five-year term under house arrest. But in March this year Uzbek prosecutors said Karimova had been returned to jail for repeatedly violating conditions of her house arrest.
Karimova’s problems began in 2014 when her father was still alive and she was reportedly placed under house arrest after hurling insults at her mother and sister on Twitter. In 2017, prosecutors said she was a member of an “organised criminal group” that controlled assets worth more than $1.3 billion in 12 countries.
Karimova has also been the subject of a multi-year corruption probe targeting Western telecoms firms. US and European investigators say the firms paid her billions of dollars to secure access to the Uzbek market.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took power after the death of Uzbekistan’s long-reigning hardliner Karimov in 2016. He has won plaudits for trimming many of his predecessor’s authoritarian excesses but has kept a repressive political system intact.