Uzbek authorities interview Gulnara Karimova

JAN. 14 (The Conway Bulletin) — Uzbek prosecutors interviewed Gulnara Karimova at her home in Tashkent, where she is under house arrest, about money laundering, media in Switzerland reported by quoting her lawyer.

This is the first news of Ms Karimova since her father, former Uzbek president Islam Karimov, died in September. In November a report surfaced on opposition news website that she had been poisoned.

The German-language business newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an interview with Ms Karimova’s lawyer, Gregoire Mangeat, who said that he had flown to Tashkent for the interviews held on Dec. 9/10.

He said that she was in good health but had been under pressure from the two state prosecutors to admit to various crimes.

“She was very combative and showed an amazing resistance to the arbitrary situation,” he said. “She bravely endured the confrontation with the three Uzbek prosecutors in military uniform. Twice, however, she burst into tears.”

Mr Mangeat also said that Ms Karimova’s living conditions were inhumane and designed to make her crack.

“My client is held in a small annex of her former house in the centre of Tashkent. The rest of the house has decayed,” her said. “Gulnara Karimova is completely isolated.”

Ms Karimova had been viewed as a potential successor to her father but in February 2014, as prosecutors from Europe and the United States started investigating telecoms companies who had paid her bribes worth hundreds of millions of dollars for access to the Uzbek market, she was placed under house arrest. Since then, very little has been heard of the once self-style fashion diva, pop star, roaming ambassador and business leader.


>>This story was first published in issue 313 of The Conway Bulletin, a weekly newspaper covering Central Asia and the South Caucasus

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