Over the span of five years, one man funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars out of Central Asia. What he knew may have cost him his life. But before his murder, he shared with reporters a trove of documents that reveal the source of this colossal wealth: A secretive family that ran an underground cargo empire with the help of a powerful political patron.
Despite receiving a death threat, the operator of a massive Kyrgyz money-laundering scheme shared hundreds of documents to corroborate what he knew. He promised even more — but then he was murdered.
The wife of Raimbek Matraimov, a powerful former Kyrgyz customs chief, has a joint investment in Dubai with a shadowy Uighur family, the Abdukadyrs. Back in Central Asia, that family built a thriving cargo empire thanks to corruption in the customs service.
For years, a network of informal couriers has funneled millions of dollars out of Kyrgyzstan in cold, hard cash. The underground money transfer system fuels corruption, destroys transparency — and has claimed people’s lives. Here’s how it works.
A powerful Uighur family exploited a cash courier system widely used by Kyrgyz merchants to move millions of U.S. dollars out of Kyrgyzstan into Turkey — and beyond.