TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Swiss federal prosecutors have widened a probe into Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov, investigating additional connections who are suspected of money laundering and document forgery offenses.
Karimova is called “the Uzbek Princess” by her detractors.
The attorney general’s office said Wednesday that it has confiscated more than 800 million Swiss francs — $828 million — in the case, Bloomberg reported.
The nine suspected arrests include two former senior managers of a local Coca-Cola bottler and a man believed to be a former financial adviser to Karimova. An entrepreneur and one-time pop princess with the stage name Googoosha, she has been under house arrest since last year.
The Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office announced last year the launch of a criminal case against a group of men suspected of a slew of financial improprieties. Thirteen people, including Uzbek businessman Rustam Madumarov — believed to be Karimova’s boyfriend — and Gayane Avakian, a woman who is another of her associates, have already been sentenced to lengthy jail terms, Radio Free Europe reported.
Karimova controlled Coca-Cola Ichimligi Uzbekistan — established by Karimova’s Uzbek-American ex-husband Mansur Maqsudi. They have since divorced.
The U.S. Justice Department in July won a bid to seize $300 million alleged to be the proceeds from an Uzbek telecoms scheme that involved companies including VimpelCom Ltd. and Takilant Ltd., an investment firm linked to her father. Karimova previously had a distinguished career as diplomat and businesswoman.