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Money laundering Swiss investigate Uzbek president’s daughter

Karimova during a Moscow fashion show in 2011

(Keystone)

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office says it has extended a money laundering investigation to include Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the Uzbek president. The probe, launched in 2012, initially focused on four of Karimova’s allies.

The investigation was widened last September following legal assistance from the authorities in neighbouring France and in Sweden, according to a statement published on Wednesday.

Police in Geneva had also searched the villa of Karimova, who had diplomatic immunity as the Uzbek representative to the United Nations and other Geneva-based international organisations.

  

Her whereabouts are not known. She left Switzerland after her immunity was lifted by a court last year.

She has in the past denied allegations of business impropriety against her.

Karimova is believed to be at the centre of a feud with the country’s political elite ahead of presidential elections in Uzbekistan scheduled for early next year.

She is a businesswoman, fashion designer and pop star, but has fallen from grace in the central Asian republic following high-profile corruption investigations.

Assets frozen

Many of her business and charitable organisations were also put under investigation in her own country. At least three of her close allies were arrested in Uzbekistan last month.

Switzerland had detained two people in Geneva in 2012 in connection with the money laundering investigation, but they were granted bail.

An undisclosed amount of Uzbek assets was frozen in Switzerland in 2012.

Currently CHF800 million ($910.5 million) are blocked according to the prosecutor's office. Reports say they could be linked to the acquisition of a Swedish telecommunications group.

Last December, a group of exiled Uzbek dissidents broke into Karimova's abandoned villa on Lake Geneva and published images of items allegedly taken from the Uzbek national museum.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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