Last Friday, the Uzbekistan prosecutor’s office confirmed that the daughter of the former Uzbek president Islam Karimov has been detained by officials investigating allegations of fraud and money laundering.
Gulnara Karimova, a once powerful businesswoman, prominent socialite and potential successor to her father, disappeared from public view in 2014 after apparently falling out with her father. Uzbek authorities have not revealed her whereabouts since her disappearance, even after Islam Karimov’s death.
The statement from Uzbek prosecutors revealed that Karimova had been convicted of extortion and embezzlement in 2015, and sentenced to five years’ probation, which could equate to house arrest in Uzbek law and may explain her lack of public appearances.
This latest disclosure shows how deeply the corruptive system in Uzbekistan is entrenched with the ruling elite. The issue has been taken up in a new animation movie “Corruptistan” by the New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map).
N-Map partnered with the Uzbek-German Forum on Human Rights to tell the story of the real victims of corruption in one of the most notorious mafia-states in the world. In Uzbekistan, corrupt government officials maintain an abusive regime financed by violence, bribery and extortion.
“Corruptistan” exposes the ties between financial corruption and human rights abuse, and demands greater attention be paid to the real victims of corruption. The video also outlines a just model for returning stolen money so that keeps it out of the hands of corrupt government officials and places it back into the hands of the everyday citizens to whom it belongs.
This model could also be a solution in Karimova’s case: The Uzbek prosecutor general’s office said it was seeking to freeze about $1.5bn in assets held by Gulnara Karimova in various countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Returning the stolen money to the Uzbek citizens would be an important step in the fight against corruption and a powerful signal to the Uzbek citizens.