Gulnara Karimova, 47 years of age, eldest daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, is about to the face the court once more for another batch of corruption allegations. The late Islam Karimov governed the populous country with authoritarian leadership.
The first encounter of Gulnara Karimova with corruption issues can be traced back to 2012 in deals among telecom operations companies.
From the reports presented in the previous year, she was accused of demanding twenty percent of bankroll from Uzdunrobitas’ first operations.
Uzdunrobita was created as a joint project between the Uzbekistan government and the American company International Communications Group (ICG). Karimova was said to give threats on destroying IGC if not given the said favor.
She was put to house arrest due to charges of extortion, embezzlement, and promotion of criminal gang. The economic crimes of extortion and embezzlement have a five-year sentence, while the act of promoting a criminal gang adds five more years giving her a total of ten years’ imprisonment.
By March 2019, she was transferred to jail due to violations committed on the terms that cover the house arrest arrangement.
In the same month, the United States Justice Department issued charges against a former telecommunications executive and government official of Uzbekistan. The charges filed include accusations of money laundering and bribery. The estimated sum of money from the said bribery and money laundering schemes ranges up to one billion dollars.
The current case that Karimova is facing was filed in the month of August last year. She was accused of involvement in deals that are against the country’s interest. It was an alleged illegal purchase of the cement companies called Bekabadcement JSC and Kuvasaycement. The said companies have shares owned by the government. The shares were obtained in a suspicious minimal amount, and later on, sold abroad.
Local businessmen were said to be threatened by Karimova. They were forced to transfer their shares and properties to companies controlled by Karimova.
In a statement, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General, stated that Gulnara Karimova was accused of exploitation of official position to obtain bribes ranging to eight hundred sixty-five million dollars from three telecommunications companies. The US financial system was used for laundering the bribe money.
Reports stated that the prosecutors intend to take more than 1.5 billion dollars worth of foreign assets from Karimova.
Gulnara Karimova served the country as a government official and involvement in diplomatic missions. Aside from exhibiting special interest in telecoms, she is also into the arts. In 2006, she attempted to have a pop singing career. She performed with Gerard Depardieu and Julio Iglesias. She also launched “GULI” in 2009, a fashion and jewelry line she creatively made.
Government officials are chosen and put to power to lead and serve people- a selfless mandate. The power given to them should never be abused for personal gain.