Uzbekistan: US Says Karimova Failed to Comply With Court Order
US prosecutors publically named Uzbekistan’s first daughter on Thursday, with others, as having ignored a US demand to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts linked in part to the VimpelCom bribery investigation, Bloomberg said.
Prosecutors claim Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov, and her associates failed to comply with a February civil forfeiture complaint against three bank accounts. Authorities are seeking turnover of at least US$ 550 million.
It was the first time that Karimova had been named in publically available US government documents, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said.
Karimova’s business associate Gayane Avakyan and her reported boyfriend Rustam Madumarov were also named, along with Takilant Ltd, a Gibraltar-based offshore company allegedly run by Avakyan but controlled by Karimova, according to RFE/RL.
The prosecutors’ April 21 letter asked a Manhattan federal court to declare Karimova and the others in default of the February forfeiture request.
OCCRP found that five telecom companies, including VimpelCom Ltd., paid at least US$ 1 billion in bribes to Karimova in connection with telecommunications licensing rights in Uzbekistan.
In February, VimpelCom admitted to bribing an Uzbekistan official and agreed to pay a fine of US$ 795 million to authorities. Previous court records and other documents suggested that official was Karimova, RFE/RL said.
The February civil forfeiture complaint, which related to VimpelCom and two other telecom companies, said bribe money was laundered through Swiss bank accounts then transferred to the US through companies including JP Morgan Chase & Co and Deutsche Bank AG, according to Bloomberg.
The US Justice Department said the VimpelCom case was the largest case to date under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative for recovery of US-based illicit assets, RFE/RL said.