GULNARA KARIMOVA: POP STAR AND PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER

GULNARA KARIMOVA

Gulnara Karimova is Karimov’s elder daughter. A sometime diplomat, professor and businessperson, she received a master degree from Harvard and founded of several charities and NGOs related to Uzbekistan. Despite her achievements she is better known for her jet-set lifestyle. In 2009, she arranged for Sting to be paid $1 million to perform in Uzbekistan. Since early 2014, Gulnara has been imprisoned under her father’s orders and lives with her daughter under armed guard and surveillance cameras.

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “Right up until her father ordered her arrest,Gulnara Karimova lived a charmed life. Under the stage name GooGoosha, she was Uzbekistan’s most famous pop star, performing “Bésame Mucho” with Julio Iglesias. She signed Gerard Depardieu for a film she’d scripted. (It was never made.) She debuted a fashion line in New York in 2012. She designed jewelry for Chopard and perfumes—Victorious for men and Mysterieuse for women. [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014 <|>]

“Karimova was also a diplomat and an academic, serving as ambassador to Madrid and the U.N. in Geneva and as professor of political science at University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her business interests in telecoms, entertainment and transportation made her the wealthiest woman in Uzbekistan. But more important than all this, she enjoyed the love and patronage of her father—Islam Karimov, the Soviet apparatchik turned despot who has ruled Uzbekistan as a personal fiefdom since 1989. “The president trusted Gulnara,” says Ismat Hushev, a newspaper editor who was close to the Karimovs in the 1990s. “He thought she could perhaps succeed him.”’ <|>

Reid Standish wrote in Foreign Policy: At her peak she “was one of the most powerful people in Central Asia. As the dictator’s eldest daughter, she was untouchable. Karimova had her own fashion line, a pop music career, represented her country at the U.N. in Geneva, and an ironclad grip on several major businesses. But that all melted away when state prosecutors charged her with systemic corruption.” [Source: Reid Standish, Foreign Policy, September 9, 2014]

Gulnara Karimova Family, Education and Career

Dubbed the 'first daughter' by U.S. embassy officials, Karimova graduated from the Youth Mathematic Academy in Tashkent in 1988. From 1989 to 1994 she attended Tashkent State University, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in economics. In 1992 she completed a course of jewelry design in New York Fashion Institute of Technology. Between 1998 and 2000 Karimova studied at Harvard University and received a master's degree in regional studies. In 2001, she was awarded PhD in political science from at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (UWED) in Tashkent,. Since 2009 she has held the chair of political science at the UWED. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Between summer 1995 and autumn 1997 she was Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan. During this time she helped on with organizing the Tashkent International Conference “Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone” (CANWFZ). In 1998 and from 2000 to 2003 Karimova served as counselor at Uzbekistan’s Mission to the United Nations in New York. From 2003 until 2005 she was minister-counselor at the Uzbek embassy in Moscow, and served as adviser to the minister of foreign affairs from 2005 to 2008. In September 2008 she became Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva. In January 2010, she was named Uzbek Ambassador in Spain. +

In 1991, Karimova married Mansur Maqsudi, an American businessman of Afghanistan Uzbek origin. They have two children, a son, Islam, born in 1992 and a daughter, Iman, born in 1998. When the marriage started to crumble in July 2001, Karimova took the two children and left the United States for Uzbekistan. An Uzbek judge granted her a divorce, while a US court granted one to Maqsudi. When Karimova refused to accede to the US court ruling awarding custody of the two children to Maqsudi, an international arrest warrant in her name was filed with Interpol. In return, Maqsudi faced arrest in Uzbekistan, and some of his relatives were arrested and thrown into prison. Others were driven to the Uzbek-Afghan border and dumped on the other side, and Maqsudi had his business assets in Uzbekistan taken away. According to The Guardian, as part of her divorce settlement, Karimova kept $4.5 million worth of jewelry and business interests worth approximately $60 million. In July 2008, custody of the two children was fully given to Karimova, by a Consent Order signed by a New Jersey judge. +

In 2003, when Sodiq Safoyev was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, allegations about his marriage to Karimova surfaced in local and international media. Safoyev, a career diplomat and a divorcee as of 2001, was suspected to have been picked by the President Islam Karimov as his possible replacement, hence the marriage to his daughter. However, the allegations were denied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the BBC, which published the story, was accused by Uzbekistan government of intruding into the personal lives of Safoyev and Karimova. +

Gulnara Karimova’s Predatory Rise

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “The beginnings of Karimova’s rise—and the seeds of her fall—can be traced to her return to Tashkent in 2001 after a 10-year marriage to a U.S. citizen of Uzbek-Afghan origin. She’d spent most of the previous decade in the U.S., earning a master’s in political science from Harvard and having two children. But after her marriage fell apart Karimova returned to Uzbekistan “determined to become her own woman” according to Tulaganova. “She wanted to be a strong woman. She is ambitious, but has serious selfhood issues. She has a lot of anger.” [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014 <|>]

“Karimova’s first act after returning to Uzbekistan was vindictive. She used Uzbekistan’s security forces to confiscate her ex-husband’s businesses—including a Coca-Cola bottling franchise—and had his relatives imprisoned then expelled from the country. “Before, [Karimova’s in-laws] were treated like royalty,” says one former business associate of her first husband. “Then came the divorce, and suddenly everyone said, ‘Who were those people?’” She also indulged her teenage fantasies of show business stardom, backed by her father’s money, transforming herself into GooGoosha—her father’s baby name for her. She was appointed Uzbekistan’s deputy foreign minister for cultural affairs. People began to talk of her as Karimov’s successor. <|>

“She also went into business. According to the Uzbek-Afghan businessman, “People from the [National Security Service] came to my office. They proposed that we take on a new partner in our business.… At first I hoped it was simply their private way of extorting money. But this was coming from the very top.” His company was absorbed into one controlled by a Karimova associate. U.S. Embassy cables tell a similar story—in 2009 an American businessmen complained that after his company turned down Karimova’s offer to buy into the Skytel mobile telecommunications firm, “the company’s frequency [was] jammed by an Uzbek government agency.” <|>

“She was a predator,” says Kamoliddin Rabbimov, who used to work in Uzbekistan’s presidential administration before fleeing in 2007 to Paris. “She stole all the profitable businesses in Uzbekistan.” Victims included foreign-owned firms such as Newmont Mining, Oxus Gold, Spentex and the MTS Uzbekistan cellphone network. All were subjected to criminal investigation by Uzbekistan’s tax police and were either shut down or had their assets seized or were bought at less than their market value.” <|>

Sting and Gulnara’s Pop Music Career

In 2006, Karimova released her first music video singing a song called “Unutma Meni” (Don't Forget Me) under the stage name "Googoosha", apparently her father's nickname for her. According to commentators, the video was part of a campaign to promote her popularity in Uzbekistan. She also performed in a later music video, singing a duet of “Besame Mucho” with Julio Iglesias. In December 2012, Googoosha released a duet with French actor Gérard Depardieu. During his visit to Uzbekistan, the French actor agreed to star in an Uzbek film. Gulnara Karimova wrote a screenplay for "The Theft of the White Cocoon", a story about the origin of the famed Central Asian silk, and set in the 5th and 6th centuries. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Googoosha’s first single “Round Run” was released in April 2012 with various remixes by DJ White Shadow, Razor N Guido of USA and Max Fadeev of Russia. The remix from the album "has been on air in many radio stations and been played at more than 100 night clubs in the US", and reached 5th place in the US Billboard Breakouts for Hot Dance Club Play section. In June 2012 Karimova released her self-titled debut album in the US and other countries on iTunes. The album was also expected to be released in Asia, Russia and a number of other European countries.

Gulnara and Fashion

In March 2009 Karimova presented her own special jewellery collection "GULI for Chopard", designed for renowned Swiss company Chopard. Reportedly her royalty for design from sales of the collection will benefit the "Yangi Avlod" (New Generation) Children's Festival. In September 2010, Karimova presented her fashion line "Guli", featuring Uzbek fabrics and designs based on the traditional Uzbek long coat, at New York's Fashion Week.

In September 2011, Karimova's planned spring 2012 fashion show at New York’s Fashion Week was banned after Human Rights Watch and other organizations had drawn attention to her connection to her father’s government and its record on torture, and child and forced labour. According to Human Rights Watch, up to two million Uzbek children are forced to leave school each year for two months to pick cotton – a fabric woven throughout Karimova’s designs. However the fashion show was eventually held in New York, with the location changed to Cipriani.

In Uzbekistan, Karimova also hosts Style.uz Art Week featuring catwalk shows of international labels such as Cavalli, Scervino and Chopard. Art Week also includes Theatre.uz International Theatre Festival, Golden Guepard Tashkent International Film Forum, concerts and charity events. Karimova presented her first fragrances, Victorious for men and Mysterieuse for women, at Style.Uz Art Week 2012.The fragrances were created by French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. Halit Ergenç the famous Turkish actor became a face of Victorious for men.

Sting performed a concert in Uzbekistan in 2009 as part of the annual Art Week Style.Uz project initiated in 2006 by Karimova. Earlier, he had participated in an Yangi Avlod-arranged festival. After his concert, several commentators accused him of hypocrisy for playing in that country and supporting Karimova. The singer justified his action in an October 2010 interview, saying that there is no cultural embargo on Uzbekistan and "... If this should happen, Uzbek community would become more paranoid, more aggressive towards us (i.e. Western people). Arts , journalism, enterprises, circulation of ideas – and I personally believe in the power of music – are all matters that do well/are helpful to totalitarian regimes. Regarding Karimova, she is much more sensitive to culture. So why not? Let’s keep the doors open." See Music

Gulnara Treasures and Crimes

According to Wikileaks-leaked diplomatic memos, Karimova is viewed as a 'robber baron' and first caught the attention of U.S. embassy staff in 2004 after being spotted by diplomats at 3:00 am partying at places which sold imported alcohol - illegal in Uzbekistan. One cable on her reads: “Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way … She remains the single most hated person in the country.' [Source: Daily Mail, December 13, 2010]

After she was investigated in Switzerland, Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “Some of Karimova’s safety deposit boxes, filled with jewelry and artworks valued at tens of millions of Swiss francs, were also seized. Money laundering probes have also been launched into Karimova-related companies in France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Craig Murray, British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, alleges that the Karimov family “looted Uzbekistan’s large state-owned gold industry by stealing physical gold, some of which is fenced through Karimova’s jewelry business, but most of which is stored as collateral” in “large underground concrete vaults established under the rear of the garden behind Gulnara’s [Geneva] house.” Murray alleges that Karimova is guilty of far worse crimes than theft. “She has had business rivals killed,” Murray writes in a controversial blog. “She has been involved in trafficking girls into prostitution in Dubai, a partner in the narcotics trade and she benefits financially from the open forced labor of millions of small children picking cotton in the state farms.” <|>

Gulnara Karimova’s Fall

Allegations of mass corruption involving Karimova and the telecoms sector surfaced in 2012, when the Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera was accused of shelling out $330 million in suspicious payments for the rights to operate in Uzbekistan. That sparked a corruption probe in Sweden, which was linked to a money-laundering investigation in Switzerland in which Karimova is a formal suspect. Swiss prosecutors began investigating Karimova for money laundering in 2013. Her diplomatic immunity as Uzbekistan’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva shielded her from investigation until she left the post in July 2013.

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “Karimova’s problems began when MTS—a Moscow-based cellphone provider—fought back. MTS subsidiary MTS Uzbekistan went bankrupt in January 2013 after accusations of tax fraud, the arrest of employees and the expulsion of some Russian executives. Protesting its innocence, MTS went public with counter-accusations that it had been victim of a shakedown. They agreed to share information with Swiss authorities, who had launched an investigation into another Karimova-linked company: Zeromax. The Swiss-registered holding company was founded by Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, described by the U.S. Embassy as a “local organized crime boss.” In court documents, Swiss prosecutors accuse Karimova of cooperating in “creating corrupt business mechanisms” and “money laundering.” [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014 <|>]

“Zeromax became, prosecutors allege, a vehicle for Karimova to receive bribes from businesses wanting to enter the Uzbek market. The biggest was $340 million allegedly paid by the Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera in 2007 to obtain an Uzbek 3G license. According to the Swiss prosecutor general, about $912 million of Karimova’s assets have been frozen in Swiss bank accounts—the largest sum ever frozen in a Swiss criminal investigation. “I never met TeliaSonera representatives,” Karimova told Uznews in April when asked about the allegations. <|>

Reid Standish wrote in Foreign Policy: “Karimova’s controversial international business dealings are not confined to Switzerland. In 2012, Swedish journalists uncovered evidence linking the Swedish-Finnish telecom company, TeliaSonera, with a $300 million bribe in 2008 to enter Uzbekistan’s mobile-phone market. The money was traced to an offshore company registered in Gibraltar, which was owned by Karimova’s close associates. The scandal has since become the biggest corruption case in Swedish history and Karimova became an official suspect. [Source: Reid Standish, Foreign Policy, September 9, 2014 ||||]

“Like the other scandals, Karimova denied any involvement and the company itself denies any wrongdoing. In a March letter believed to have been written by Karimova while under house arrest and smuggled to the BBC, the author insists that the charges are the work of Inoyatov, the security chief. Amid the power struggle, it is uncertain what role Islam Karimov has played in all this. It is unlikely that Gulnara could have been targeted without the approval of a leader who has spent the last 23 years consolidating his hold on power. But who will succeed him remains a mystery. For that reason alone, the country’s political turmoil may not be over.” ||||

Gulnara Karimova Angers Her Father

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “As long as she enjoyed her father’s protection, Karimova was untouchable. But even her friends admit she tested her father to the limits...She antagonized foreign investors and stole businesses with impunity, according to documents published by Wikileaks. She rode roughshod over Uzbekistan’s top officials—including the heads of the country’s security services. Friends who fled into exile accused her of snorting cocaine and dabbling in black magic.” [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014 <|>]

Reid Standish wrote in Foreign Policy: “One figure that Karimova is believed to have locked horns with is Rustam Inoyatov, the head of the SNB, Uzbekistan’s national security service. In December 2013, Karimova claimed on Twitter that Inoyatov had turned her father against her in an attempt to seize power.Inoyatov is known for having the president’s ear. Although Karimova’s downfall may be the result of a Shakespearean power struggle, her high-profile financial misdeeds are also likely to have played a role. The charges against her claim that she plundered approximately $60 million worth of assets from the country.” [Source: Reid Standish, Foreign Policy, September 9, 2014 ||||]

Upon learning about the Swiss investigation, “Karimova returned to Tashkent in September 2013, which is when the feud within Uzbekistan’s first family became public. That same month, the family appears to have turned against her. Gulnara’s little sister, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, said in a rare interview with the BBC that she had not spoken to her sister in 12 years. The comments illuminated the emerging rift in Tashkent, as Karimova’s family and other members of the ruling elite tried to distance themselves from her tainted reputation.” ||||

Gulnara Karimova Arrested by Her Father

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “Karimov’s patience came to an end at dawn on February 17 of this year. “Ten SUVs with military in full gear—like for capturing terrorists—took over the [neighborhood] from both sides,” according to Karimova’s own account. Armed heavies surrounded her mansion in Tashkent and 41-year-old Karimova, her 15-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, Rustam Madumarov, were arrested. She claims Muijon Tokhiriy—head of the President’s Security Services—roughed her up. [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014]

Reid Standish wrote in Foreign Policy: “ Karimova’s fall from grace has been uncharacteristically public for Uzbekistan, one of the world’s most isolated and repressive countries. Up until March, Karimova, known for her active Twitter presence, had been tweeting about her fall-out with her strongman father and the erosion of her business empire. But that ended six months ago, when she was unceremoniously placed under house arrest in Tashkent, assumedly under her father’s authority, with all communication to the outside world cut off and her Twitter account disabled. [Source: Reid Standish, Foreign Policy, September 9, 2014 ||||]

In September 2014, the Uzbek general prosecutor announced that Karimova and some of here associates would be charged with mafia-style corruption. She could face a lengthly prison spell but there has been no movement on the case since the announcement. She is also under investigation in a Swiss corruption probe. “The charges against Karimova are the culmination of a 20-month dynastic struggle among Uzbekistan’s ruling family and the president’s inner circle...At 75, the president is rumored to be in poor health. Gulnara was once considered a contender to succeed her father. Many experts see her downfall as the product of an emerging power vacuum.” ||||

Why Would Karimov Arrest His Daughter?

Owen Matthews wrote in Newsweek: “Why would Karimov abandon the daughter he had indulged for so long? Her explanation is that her father has gone crazy. “When God wants to punish a human he takes away his mind,” she wrote. “Otherwise no one stoops so low as to harass their own child, and the child of their child.” Former associates have a different theory: “She stole too much from too many people,” says one Uzbek-Afghan businessman whose business was taken over by Karimova’s associates five years ago, forcing him to flee the country. He believes Tokhiriy and Rustam Inoyatov, chief of the National Security Service, forced Karimov to rein her in. “The woman became unstoppable,” says Shahida Tulaganova, an Uzbek journalist. “She was undermining her father, making public accusations against her mother and sister.… They had to silence her.” [Source: Owen Matthews, Newsweek, June 26, 2014 <|>]

“Even Karimov’s friends concede the torrent of stories about Karimova’s crooked business practices are largely true. Hushev believes it was Karimov himself who ordered her arrest: “He was shown documents which showed that she was no longer worthy of his trust.” Foreigners who have had dealings with Karimov say it’s unlikely the old man’s control has slipped. Karimov “has always maintained a fine balance of power between his country’s rival security services,” says one senior Western diplomat who served in Uzbekistan. “The idea of [Karimov] being outmaneuvered by his own security chiefs doesn't make much sense.” <|>

“There are signs Karimova and her father could be reaching an understanding. Her Twitter account came to life again in April with some retweets of supporters’ messages—but, for the moment, no selfies. “She has gone from being the most hated person in Uzbekistan to being a victim of the regime,” says Rabbimov. The world’s most dysfunctional ruling family could be close to a deal—Karimova stays silent and lies low, and “reinvents herself as a human rights defender,” says Tulaganova. Karimova’s house arrest could be her father’s final, and most intelligent, service to a beloved wayward daughter. Karimov is 76 years old and, while Karimova’s reputation is far too tarnished for her to be considered as his successor, by publicly punishing her, Karimov has increased her chances of surviving into the next reign with her freedom and some of her fortune intact.” <|>

Gulnara Karimova Under House Arrest

After her “house arrest,” Matthews wrote in Newsweek, “a smuggled-out photo shows her disheveled and without makeup, sitting on an unmade bed drinking from a carton of chocolate milk. Within hours of the raid, she was a nonperson. GooGoosha’s music videos disappeared from state television...Karimova’s captors cut her off from Twitter, on which she used to post fur- and tiara-clad selfies interspersed with corruption accusations against Uzbek officials. The only word from her came in handwritten letters smuggled out by visitors. Even in the original Russian—Karimova speaks little Uzbek, like many children of elite Soviet families—the letters make for bizarre reading. “The blood of my wounds does not clot any more, it’s everywhere. Its taste is of salt, and its smell is sharp. Why? Why … ?” Karimova wrote in a letter posted on an opposition website.” ||||

Erich Follath wrote in Der Spiegel: “She claims that she and her 16-year-old daughter aren't allowed to go anywhere near the president. "The police have tried to break my fingers and I am under terrible duress," she complains. She also asserts that the authorities have refused any medical or psychological treatment. "They are treating us worse than dogs!" she says. The last signs of life from Gulnara are photos of her looking uncharacteristically unkempt and surrounded by uniformed guards. Last autumn, the public prosecutor's office announced it was opening a corruption investigation into Gulnara. [Source: Erich Follath, Der Spiegel, April 3, 2015]

In a secret recordings obtained by the BBC in August 2014, Karimova said she and her teenaged daughter were being treated "worse than dogs" and needed urgent medical help. "We need medical help urgently… We have this opportunity to send a USB stick out of the country, we will appreciate any help," Karimova said. "The territory of the house is basically surrounded now by hundreds of cameras and special equipment which is blocking any means of communication. So it's tremendous pressure and stress on me and my daughter. We need medical help urgently." [Source: Natalia Antelava, BBC News, August 22, 2014 +=+]

According to the BBC: Throughout the recordings she repeats her concerns for her 16-year-old daughter Iman. According to Karimova's son Islam Karimov Jr, a student at Oxford Brookes University, Iman has always worn a monitoring device for a heart condition that she has suffered from since childhood. But the device, he says, has now been taken away and she has missed an annual round of treatment. Karimov Jr adds that his mother is also in need of surgery, and that since the recordings were smuggled out the pair may have even been denied access to food.” +=+

Pictures of Gulnara Under House Arrest

In September 2014, images began circulating that appeared to show Karimova being manhandled by in camouflage-clad security guards while under house arrest in Tashkent. Shaun Walker wrote in The Guardian, “The images were circulated by Locksley Ryan, who claims to be a spokesman for Karimova and said the photos showed “persecution, starvation and abuse”. It is unclear exactly when the photographs were taken. There are no obvious signs of serious violence visible in the photographs, but Karimova looks tired and dishevelled as she is grabbed by the arm by guards. [Source: Shaun Walker, The Guardian, September 16, 2014 \=/]

“Gulnara Karimova is being held for purely political reasons,” claimed the statement released by Ryan. “As long as Gulnara has been under house arrest she and her daughter – who is being held with her – have remained in urgent need of medical attention. To add to this, those keeping her and her daughter prisoner have decided to inflict a programme of systematic starvation, preventing any food from reaching them.” \=/

“In July, her son Islam Karimov Jr, who studies in Britain, told the Guardian he feared for his mother’s life and put her disappearance down to a vicious feud. Karimov Jr told the Guardian that he had not seen his grandfather, the president, since the beginning of the year, and recalled armed men turning him and his mother away from the presidential residences. He claimed that other forces inside the government were trying to keep his mother away from her father, and cast doubt on just how much his grandfather knew about Gulnara’s plight. \=/

“Karimova’s attempts to portray herself as a victim have been met with scepticism in many quarters, given that for years she was seen as the embodiment of her father’s corrupt, brutal rule. Presidential elections are due next year in Uzbekistan, and there is no obvious successor to the 76-year-old Karimov, prompting speculation of a behind-the-scenes power struggle.” \=/

Gulnara Accused of Pocketing $1 Billion in Phone Deal Bribes

In March 2015, an investigation claimed that Karimova took $1 billion bribes in return for access to lucrative telecommunications market. Joanna Lillis of EurasiaNet.org wrote: “The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (Occrp), run by a group of investigative journalists, reported that Karimova had received the money in payments and shares from Scandinavian and Russian telecoms companies including TeliaSonera, Telenor, MTS, and Alfa Telecom Occrp described her schemes as “audacious” accusing them of diverting money from Uzbekistan’s national coffers in to banks, an offshore hedge fund and luxurious real estate around the world.” [Source: Joanna Lillis, EurasiaNet.org, March 24, 2015 ^^^]

“The investigators accuse Karimova of demanding percentages of companies and extorting cash for her “personal services and lobbying efforts”. Karimova “demonstrated a ruthless ability to acquire a share of ownership (her preferred rate was 26 percent) of lucrative telecom-related companies – without actually putting up any money,” they said. Investigators say they have evidence that that Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera paid Karimova $381 million and promised another $75 million to order to start trading in Uzbekistan’s cellphone market. Russian company MTS is reported to have paid $350 million, with VimpelCom, a joint venture between Russia’s Alfa Telecom and Norway’s Telenor, said to have spent $176 million.

“Occrp say that the data was compiled using an external review of TeliaSonera conducted by law firm Mannheimer Swartling; a Dutch request for legal assistance; data from the US Securities and Exchange Commission; and other financial documents. TeliaSonera, also under investigation in the United States and the Netherlands, denies allegations of bribery and money-laundering, but has acknowledged that “the processes for conducting some transactions have not been in line with sound business practices”. The Russian companies MTS, VimpelCom, and Alfa Telecom also deny any wrongdoing. Norway’s Telenor, which is being probed in Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States over allegations it made “unlawful payments” of $55m in Uzbekistan, also denies bribery, and claiming they have “zero tolerance for corruption”. Karimova has always denied any wrongdoing, claiming the charges against her are politically motivated. She has been under house arrest in since February 2014 and has not been seen for months.

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Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated April 2016

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