US Postpones Seizing Gulnara Karimova's Assets

 
 

Years after Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, began her spectacular fall from grace, it appears we’re in for at least a few more months of speculation about the breathtaking bribery allegations surrounding her and her team.

According to Ireland’s Independent this week, Washington has permitted a three-month stay regarding a “court order directing the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assets held in Irish bank accounts[.]” The stay, which will run through the end of October, came as U.S. officials pursued an “out-of-court settlement” with officials from Uzbekistan, allowing Washington and Tashkent that much more time to determine how the funds could be repatriated.

The stay, as it is, isn’t necessarily surprising, insofar as these settlement discussions are part of a case of unprecedented magnitude. The current stay deals only with the assets, totaling some $300 million, held in Irish, Luxembourger, and Belgian accounts, out of more than $1 billion allegedly linked to Karimova. Some of these accounts, however, are directly tied to Karimova; as the Independent continued, Karimova “is named in US court filings as the alleged beneficial owner of at least six Irish bank accounts.”

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While discussions between Washington and Tashkent continue, however, another chapter of Karimova-tied bribery allegations appears to have come to a close. Earlier this month, a Dutch court ordered Takilant Ltd., a Gibraltar-based company owned and operated by one of Karimova’s close associates, to turn over $135 million. The court, as Bloomberg reported, found Takilant guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for accessing “wireless frequencies.” While Takilant was cleared of charges of money laundering, the company was also found guilty of forgery.

But the Dutch prosecution’s work continues. Dutch prosecutors will now turn their focus to bribery allegations surrounding Telia Company (formerly TeliaSonera), a Scandinavian telecom whose chief executive has already resigned in the scandal’s wake. There’s no timeline for a final decision on Telia – meaning that more news surrounding the activities of Karimova and her circle will only continue to drip out as we move ahead.

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