Switzerland indicts Uzbekistan's ex-president's daughter

Switzerland indicts Uzbekistan's ex-president's daughter

Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's former president, was indicted on Thursday in Switzerland in a massive case of corruption, fraud and organised crime.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland announced in a statement that after a lengthy criminal investigation, it had filed an indictment against Karimova along with an Uzbek telecoms executive.

The charges covered the period of 2005 to 2013 and involved 'participation in a criminal organisation', money laundering, acceptance of bribes as foreign public officials, and forgery of documents. The indictment was filed in Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court.

The OAG claims that Karimova, daughter of late Islam Karimov, had created and run a criminal organisation known as, consisting of several dozen people and a large number of companies from 2001 to 2013.

In 2005 the organisation began its operations in Switzerland 'to conceal the capital originating from its criminal dealings in Swiss bank accounts and safes and by purchasing real estate', the statement said.

Karimova, who is currently serving a 13-year sentence in Uzbekistan for embezzlement, raked in large bribes from foreign companies wanting to access the booming Uzbek telecommunications industry, the indictment said.

The bribes were paid by companies in order to obtain her widespread influence in favor of their market access, the OAG said.

It said :

Those accounts were opened in the name of the companies within. The supposed beneficiaries were in fact men of straw, put there to conceal that Karimova was the real recipient, the indictment said.

The OAG said investigators in Switzerland have so far led to the seizure of assets totalling the equivalent of 780 million Swiss francs, including bank assets and real estate, as well as cash and valuables deposited in bank safes.

The OAG asked for the confiscation of another 440 million francs-worth of assets on its original indictment, the court said.

While prosecutors say Karimova was in charge, they also indicted the head of the Uzbek branch of a Russian telecommunications company. The suspect, who was not identified, was accused of being a key member of the crime organisation.

The OAG opened a corruption investigation in 2012 into Karimova's personal assistant over the allegations of money laundering.

In 2013 the investigation was expanded to focus on Karimova, who was originally protected by diplomatic immunity, since she was serving as ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.