Uzbekistan said on Thursday it has received from France assets worth $10 million illegally acquired by Gulnara Karimova, the imprisoned daughter of the long-ruling Uzbek president Islam Karimov.
Karimova was once seen as one of the most powerful people in the country, and a potential successor to Karimov.
The Uzbek justice ministry said that the assets once controlled by Karimova, who is convicted of misappropriation and extortion, were transferred to Uzbekistan’s state budget from France, and will be used in accordance with the standard procedure.
“As a result of the efforts undertaken by the Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office with the participation of the relevant agencies of Uzbekistan to secure the return of Karimova’s property obtained by illegal methods to the country, assets worth $10 million were returned to Uzbekistan from France on May 14 this year”, the ministry said.
In 2014, Karimov put his daughter under house arrest and dismantled her business empire, which included media holdings and cement factories, nightclubs, travel agencies, boutiques, and construction companies. In 2015, she was convicted of extortion, theft of state property, tax evasion, and “assistance to criminal groups” which had assets in 12 nations worth over $1.7 billion. She was sentenced to five years of house arrest.
Criminal investigations in Switzerland, the United States, Sweden, and the Netherlands have linked Karimova to a massive, years-long bribery scheme that revolved mainly around foreign telecommunications companies gaining access to the lucrative Uzbek market.
Karimov died in 2016 and was succeeded by Shavkat Mirziyoev. In 2017, Karimova was sentenced to 10 years in prison on fraud and extortion charges. In March, she received another sentence of more than 13 years on extortion, money laundering, and other crimes.