''The war in the Karimovs family was public'': why was ''Uzbek princess'' arrested?

Died Uzbekistan president’s daughter Gulnara Karimova’s arrest: who will pay

''The war in the Karimovs family was public'': why was ''Uzbek princess'' arrested? Photo: baku.ws

Unexpected news from Uzbekistan came on Friday: former President of the country Islam Karimov's daughter Gulnara was arrested. The woman who was under house arrest was seriously accused. Realnoe Vremya's correspondent together with experts in Middle Asia – journalist Arkady Dubnov and former top functionary of Uzbekistan Rim Giniyatullin – examined crimes of the ''Uzbek princess'' and family intrigues of the Karimovs.

Princess' former ''sins''

Former President of the country Islam Karimov's daughter – Gulnara Karimova – was arrested in Uzbekistan. The ''Uzbek princess'' was accused on six articles of the Criminal Code – about fraud, concealment of foreign currency, violation of customs legislation, violation of trade or servicing rules, falsification of documents and legalisation of incomes gained illegally. Several assets belonging to Karimova in 12 countries are also under arrest.

The Organized Crime Administration of the Prosecutor General's Office reminded Gulnara Karimova's all the previous ''sins''.

For instance, a criminal case on tax evasion of Terra Group CJSC, Prime Media CJSC, Gamma Promotion CJSC was opened on 24 October 2013. Being director of the Political Research Centre, Karimova ''helped an organised crime group''. According to Prosecutor General's Office, due to her help, the criminal group got money, stocks, shares and property of citizens and entrepreneurs at 54,1 soʻm by blackmail (Tashkent Factory on Preparation and Processing of a Scrap And Waste of Nonferrous Metals PJSC and Angren-Tsement CJSC – 4,1bn soʻm, $4 million, 2 flats, 4 houses, 8 cars – 17,3bn soʻm, shares at KOLORPAK CJSC and NASHRIYOT UYI TASVIR – 1,9bn soʻm and others).

The Organized Crime Administration of the Prosecutor General's Office reminded Gulnara Karimova's all the previous ''sins''. Photo: uz24.uz

The criminals also stole ''344,6bn soʻm by appropriating and spending state property while purchasing state stocks, shares in different enterprises, privatisation of property and sale of products at low prices (state shares at Uzdunrobit JV (49%) – 131,9bn soʻm, Rubicon Wireless Communication» JV CJSC (30%) — 9,6bn soʻm, 50 property facilities – 20,4bn soʻm and others).

What is more, the criminals evaded tax payment, hid or destroyed documents to avoid criminal responsibility.

In all the episodes, she was punished with 5 years of restricted liberty in 2015.

In addition, the investigation on other episodes continues: occupation of other people's property, concealment of foreign currency by money laundering to accounts of offshore companies, violation of the tax legislation, violation of trade and servicing rules, falsification of documents, legalisation of incomes gained from criminal activity.

According to investigation documents, legalised assets at $1bn 394,1 million, €63,5 million, £27,1 million and F18,5 million. They were stored in Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Latvia, Ireland, Malta, Germany, Spain, Russia, Hong Kong and the UAE. There were $777,8 million in Switzerland, villas in Colonie at 18,5 million.

Rim Giniyatullin: ''It is a daughter of the head of our state who was the father of the nation for 27 years,'' he said. ''The father pays now in front of Most High if he is guilty of something. If she is guilty, she already paid for her sins, including in front of God. I don't understand why everyone started to discuss this topic.''

''She will also pay for her sins''

In a talk to Realnoe Vremya's reporter, former Vice-Premier of Uzbekistan, head of the Council of the Elders of the Public Cultural and Educational Centre of the Tatars of the republic Rim Giniyatullin recommended not to dig in the past because the former president died.

''It is a daughter of the head of our state who was the father of the nation for 27 years,'' he said. ''The father pays now in front of Most High if he is guilty of something. The person died. If she is guilty, she will also pay for her sins, including in front of God. I don't understand why everyone started to discuss this topic.''

The former minister also surprised why everybody called Gulnara Karimova a princess.

''When a U.S. president chairs the White House, his wife becomes the First Lady for four years – nobody is surprised at it,'' he commented.

''The war in the Karimovs family was more illustrative and public''

Realnoe Vremya's reporter talked to famous Russian journalist, expert in Central Asian countries Arkady Dubnov.

There were many rumours about Gulnara Karimova after Islam Karimov's death. How can we evaluate her arrest?

There are always rumours near such VIPs: especially the first president's daughter of such a closed country as Uzbekistan. What I told earlier is proved: Gulnara is safe and sound. Her safety is provided by special services of Uzbekistan because her death is not favourable for the country's authorities financially. Millions of dollars can be returned to the country with her help. Today the official authorities have almost confirmed it: they sent a huge amount of property, money that belong to her in 15 countries. It was done to officially arrest this property with further attempts to return this money to Uzbekistan. Rumours remained rumours, and the reality was more prosaic.

Arkady Dubnov: ''Her safety is provided by special services of Uzbekistan because her death is not favourable for the country's authorities financially. Millions of dollars can be returned to the country with her help''

Why was not Mirziyoyev friendly to the family of his predecessor?

Islam Karimov's daughter was under house arrest when her father was alive. We are not speaking about any friendliness. It means the very father was not friendly.

How is the former president's another daughter Lola doing?

Lola Karimova looks fine at the moment. She presented new perfume recently in the West. I think in the last years she has been more reasonable and careful about her financial transactions, her business to avoid confrontation with the authorities. She was an ally of the authorities towards her sister to some extent. It is known the war in the Karimovs family was more illustrative and public. At the moment there is not any foundation to suppose that something threatens Lola Karimova if she still follows right politics towards the new Uzbek authorities.

When Mirziyoyev became the president, there was fear that a conflict between elites of Uzbekistan could arise. Did today's head of Uzbekistan come to an agreement with the elites?

While he is the president, we will suppose this agreement is followed.

Can any of Karimov's current functionaries be under threat?

This perspective of the closest circle that can be accused of big financial crimes is obvious. For this reason, Mirziyoyev needs to cement his position in power. Special services, the police in Uzbekistan must obey him.

By Timur Rakhmatullin