Uzbekistan leader's daughter probed for corruption: prosecutors

23rd September 2014, Comments 0 comments

The eldest daughter of Ukzbekistan's President Islam Karimov is under house arrest and being probed for suspected corruption and other charges, state prosecutors confirmed Thursday.

Gulnara Karimova, a flamboyant 42-year-old figure who had parlayed her position into becoming a pop star, a fashion designer and the head of several charitable foundations, had once been seen as a possible successor to her 76-year-old father.

But she found herself in hot water this year after openly criticising officials and her family members on Twitter.

"G.I. Karimova and other people feature in the files of criminal cases," the prosecutor general's office said in a rare statement, using Karimova's initials.

"Karimova... may have used administrative levers and provided the 'corruption element' for members of an organised (criminal) group," it said.

The office acknowledged that Karimova was being held "in isolation" at home, with her 16-year-old daughter Iman.

Neither were suffering any health problems, and Iman was free to leave, it said.

"Iman turned 16 this year and she can go away anywhere she likes, including outside Uzbekistan. Since she was born in the United States, she has the right to receive US citizenship," it said. "In any case, it's her choice."

More than a dozen suspected associates of Karimova's were handed hefty jail terms in July by a military tribunal, including a man thought to be her long-term boyfriend, Rustam Madumarov.

They were found guilty of fraud, illegal currency transactions, money laundering and tax evasion.

A new criminal case into Madumarov and others will be brought to court in the next few days, the prosecutor general's office said.

It said it was probing "the acquisition of state assets at artificially low prices, their misappropriation and plunder," as well as "other financial and economic machinations that caused significant economic harm to Uzbekistan".

It said that Uzbekistan had clawed back assets and property worth 457 billion som ($200 million, 150 million euros).

The investigation is ongoing, it said.

© 2014 AFP

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